Doing Qualitative Community Research: Lessons For Faculty, Students And Communities

Using Qualitative Community Research

Author(s): Ernest Quimby

Pp: 92-103 (12)

Doi: 10.2174/978160805258511201010092

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This chapter describes a practical suggestion for a possible CBPR project and presents thematic findings from a 2010 spring semester pilot project. Collaborative development of a proposed prototype community DVD tour can incorporate core QCR features. These include clear objectives, perceived beneficial outcomes, a feasible work plan, realistic timelines, appropriate evaluation and alignment of institutional interests with community research. Linking conceptualization with QCR design and methodology is essential. The process is guided by a theoretical framework. This helps resolve problematic matters such as handling discourse, integrating mixed method approaches, understanding empirical descriptions and making meaning from information. The pilot project’s objectives were to obtain perceptions of community and university persons about the university’s service and leadership contributions to the Pleasant Plains community in Washington, DC. Students collected and analyzed information through fieldwork, visual documentation, literature reviews, conversations, interviews and participant observations. The following were among the results: Barriers to trust and achieving effective outcomes include insufficient information and misperception; Consistent university institutional involvement is needed; Connecting the university and neighboring community is aided by structured student service-learning and recognition for faculty communityservice; Regularizing institutional engagement and dialogue promotes university-community research.

Qualitative research involves problem solving, metacognition and evaluation. Constructing knowledge and developing meanings from what students learn requires reflection. Thinking about using QCR and reflecting about what is being learned -- along with why and how -- are metacognitive skills that improve coherent results and assist evaluation. A multi-disciplinary curriculum of measurable objectives and activities also assists reflection and metacognition.

Keywords: Proposed Community DVD Tour, Applicability to Universities and Communities, QCR Design and Methodology, Problem-solving, Evaluation.

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