Project D.C.: Urban Research Internship

May 13, 2005

Institution: Georgetown University
Discipline: Sociology / Urban Studies / Internship / Service-learning / Seminar
Title: Project D.C.: Urban Research Internship
Instructor: Sam Marullo

Department of Sociology Georgetown University

Project D.C.: Urban Research Internship
Fall 2001

Professor Sam Marullo
Office: ICC 596
Phone: 687 3582
Office Hours: T, Th 2:30 4:00 and other times by appointment

The Project D.C. course is designed as a community based research seminar. The central feature of the course is that each student will work in a research internship with a community based organization (CBO) or a D.C. government agency in order to undertake a collaborative research project of value to the organization. The student, site supervisor, and faculty member will collaborate in the design of the project to which all three parties will agree which will be carried out by the student over the course of the academic year. The research process and product are intended to help advance the work of the CBO and the student’s academic and personal development.

Course Overview
You are expected to work as an intern for 6-8 hours per week for the CBO or local government agency, in addition to the time spent on class assignments. Some of the research work you undertake for your project may take you away from the site for example, conducting interviews in the community or researching materials in the library. This work may be counted as part of your hours toward the project. At the beginning of your internship experience, however, it is likely that the bulk of your time will be spent on site at the CBO/agency, as you learn about the organization’s activities. Even when you are off site, you are still responsible to the site supervisor to keep him/her posted as to the location and nature of your work and your schedule

In addition to the research internship work, there will be regular class readings and discussion, presentations to the class based on your work, and short papers related to the larger project to be turned in. You will be responsible for creating a work plan during the first month of the course and updating it throughout the process. The work plan will include a description of the work that you will be doing at the site, the nature of the research project to be undertaken, a timeline for the tasks to be done and who will do them, a preliminary bibliography of readings on your topic, a description of the form the project report will take, how it will be used, and your thoughts on how you should be evaluated on it. In addition, I will ask you to keep an ongoing journal throughout the course in accord with particular guidelines, which will serve as your field notes, your analysis, and your reflection medium.

The core readings for the course are designed to give you an overview of the community based research methodology and some background about urban problems on which you will be working. We will use as our core text a draft of a book that I am co authoring, Community Based Research: Principles and Practice for His/Her Education. We will also read Leedy and Ormrod’s Practical Research, to provide you with a brief introduction of applied research methods. You will be expected to do additional readings relevant to the substantive topic as well as the research methods that you employ in your CBR project. As a writing resource, I will have you read A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers, which provides you with the essentials of a good research paper and a primer on how to use various data sources. To help us with our reflection and critical analysis, I will ask you to read Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen, which poses the tough questions and offers inspirational answers for those of us engaged in social justice transformation work.

After the first 3 weeks, as you are settling into your site and establishing the outlines of your research project, I will meet with you on a one to one basis to discuss your projects and review your work plans. During these periods of faculty student meetings, we will meet only one time per week as a full class.

The research project will serve as the major component of your course work (and grade). Along the way, you will be asked to turn in progress reports, components of the overall project (e.g. literature review, summary of “best practices,” methodology report, policy analysis), journal entries, and auxiliary materials (e.g. issue papers, newsletter articles, or fact sheets that you have prepared). In addition, you will be making periodic presentations to the class about your project and presenting case study summaries. I expect you to attend class and to participate fully in all class discussions. Although there is no weekly mandatory number of hours to be worked at your site, I expect you to put in at least 80 hours per semester of work related to your CBR project. This should be a major and regular commitment in your schedule of at least 6-8 hours per week. Failure to work the minimal number of hours will result in a failure for the course. Your site supervisor will be asked to evaluate your work on the project and to provide me with an estimate of the amount of time worked on it.

Your work on the project will continue throughout the entire academic year, so I do not expect a “completed” project by the end of the first semester. Your internship work will continue in the spring semester in conjunction with SOCI 438. If you are not planning to continue the course during the spring semester, or should your situation change abruptly during the fall semester so that this is not possible, please see me at once to discuss how you will arrange for your project to be completed.

Course Goals
The goals of this course are:

1) to provide you with an experiential learning process through which you will understand and learn how to undertake sociological research;
2) produce a sound research design.
3) create a practical timeline for undertaking the research.
4) gather and analyze data, resulting in a written report.
5) produce supporting documentation and elements of a research report.
6) to provide you the support, guidance, and fruitful site opportunities to ensure that your research results are of value to the community;
7) provide lists of opportunities with pre screened partners and meet with you to create an appropriate partnership.
8) work together (student, faculty, community partner) to create a research plan and carry out the process.
9) develop a plan so that the results will be utilized by the community organization.
10) to provide you with the opportunity and experience of working collaboratively in the community, as part of a diverse team, to contribute to an ongoing social change initiative; work at the site, with its staff, volunteers, and constituents, undertaking work valued by the organization.
11) write and reflect on how your work contributes to larger social policy issues and/or social change initiatives.
12) produce resources (e.g. op ed pieces, issue papers, newsletter articles) that are of value to the CBO and/or its constituents.
13) to provide the reading and background materials about community based research, methodology, and theory to enable your research results to be of high quality;
14) produce abstracts and literature summaries contributing to the success of the project.
15) contribute to the growing body of literature on CBR pedagogy, research, and campus engagement.
16) produce work that can be presented publicly and/or published in various formats.

I believe that this CBR internship over the course of the school year provides you with the time to concentrate on this activity, to develop a valuable project, and to produce a high quality report. The small number of students in the course, the ongoing partnerships that we have with community organizations, and the special guests that will contribute to the course will provide you with the intensive support you will need to make this project valuable. I am very excited about the potential contributions this course can make, the high quality educational experience that you will have, and our ability to work closely together throughout the year. This course is a collaborative project and both I and the community partners are open to hear your input. Let’s work together to make this the most memorable educational exercise of your undergraduate career!

Grades for the course will be based on your research project, your workplan, journal entries, abstracts, bibliography, and short papers produced throughout the semester; your contributions to the class (attendance, participation, shared insights and experiences); your presentation of material during one on one meetings with me; an evaluation by your site supervisor; and a self evaluation.

Required Readings
The readings listed below are required. You will need to do substantial amounts of additional readings related specifically to your project. You should complete the reading assignment PRIOR to the class for which it is assigned and come to class prepared to discuss it. The required texts for the course are:

The Sociology Writing Group, A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers
Leedy, Paul, and J. E. Ormrod, Practical Research (7th ed.) (PR)
Loeb, Paul, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time (SC)
Strand, Kerry, S. Marullo, R. Stoecker, N. Cutforth, and P. Donohue, Community Based Research: Principles and Practices for His/her Education (CBR).

Recommended Readings
In addition to the required readings, there are several other excellent resource books you may wish to consult. By area of specialization, these are:

Action Research and Community-based Research:
Andranovich, Gregory and Gerry Riposa, Doing Urban Research;
Greenwood, Davydd and Morten Levin, Introduction to Action Research;
Hope, Anne, and Sally Timmel, Training for Transformation;
Maurrasse, David, Beyond the Campus: How Colleges and Universities Form Partnerships with Their Communities;
Murphy, Danny, et al. (eds.), Doing Community Based Research: A Reader;
Nyden, Philip, et al (eds.), Building Community;
Project South, Popular Education for Movement Building: A Project South Resource Guide;
Smith, Susan, et al (eds) Nurtured by Knowledge: Learning to Do Participatory Action Research;
Stringer, Ernest, Action Research: A Handbook for Practitioners;

On Community and Urban Sociology:
Kleniewski, Nancy, Cities, Change and Conflict;
Kretzmann, John, and John McKnight, Building Communities from the Inside Out;
Macionis, John, and V. Parrillo, Cities and Society;
McKnight, John, The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits;

Sociology Writing:
Mills, C. Wright, The Sociological Imagination;
Johnson, William A., Jr., et al., The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual;

Research Project Partnerships
On the first day of class, I will distribute a list of possible research projects. These projects have emerged as a result of ongoing relationships with the CBOs and Georgetown University. I urge you to take on one of these projects, so that you may contribute to the good works of the organization and make a positive contribution to the developing institutional relationship between Georgetown and the CBO. You are also free to present to me a proposal for a research collaboration with another community organization with which you already have an ongoing relationship. Please let me know that you are considering such an option immediately. I strongly discourage you from seeking to develop a new relationship on your own, apart from the institutional partnerships already listed, for the purposes of this course.

Let me impress upon you that you are an “ambassador” and representative of the university in your relations with these organizations. We will discuss the appropriate perspectives, demeanors, and characteristics that you should exhibit in your relationships with community members. Please keep in mind that others have gone before you, investing tremendous time and energy to establish and develop these relationships; and that others will come after you to further, advance them. Please do not dishonor or misuse the trust that has been grown over time, and do your utmost to nurture and develop it further.

Guiding Principles of Service Learning and CBR
There are two sets of principles that guide how we will operate in this course. The first is a set of principles of service learning pedagogy, to insure that your professional research service and learning is combined in ways that benefit both your learning and the community’s desires. The second is a set of CBR research principles, guiding how the research should be done.

The first set of principles is derived from a meeting convened by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and the Campus Compact in 1989, gathering together service-learning practitioners at the Wingspread Conference Center in Wisconsin. The group formulated a document, “Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning,” known as the Wingspread Principles, which articulates the principles to which we would like to adhere in our activities in this course. I enumerate them here in order to introduce you to these principles and to establish the foundation upon which you will undertake your community based research project. We will conduct the entire course in accordance with these principles, and I encourage you incorporate this mode of thinking with respect to all aspects of this course.

The second set of principles draws on a tradition of participatory action research and activist research, through which scholars have attempted to use their intellectual resources to promote social justice objectives. In particular, a group of seven universities have collaborated in establishing local CBR networks over the past four years, with the support of the Corporation for National Service and the Bonner Foundation. Georgetown is one of these institutions. The directors of these projects have met together on several occasions to document and assess their learnings from these experiences. The CBR principles specified below are our attempt to crystallize the highest values that guide this work. The summary below is drawn from the first chapter of the CBR book, where these principles are explained.

Wingspread Principles

1) An effective [service learning] program engages people in responsible and challenging actions for the common good. [Given the Catholic, Jesuit mission of
Georgetown, we note our institutional “preferential option for the poor.”]

2) An effective program provides structured opportunities for people to reflect critically on their service experience.

3) An effective program articulates clear service and learning goals for everyone involved.

4) An effective program allows for those with needs to define those needs.

5) An effective program clarifies the responsibilities of each person and organization involved.

6) An effective program matches service providers and service needs through a process that recognizes changing circumstances.

7) An effective program expects genuine, active, and sustained organizational commitment.

8) An effective program includes training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition, and evaluation to meet service and learning goals.

9) An effective program insures that the time commitment for service and learning is flexible, appropriate, and in the best interests of all involved.

10) An effective program is committed to program participation by and with diverse populations.

CBR Principles

1) CBR is a collaborative enterprise between researchers (professors and/or students) and community members.

2) CBR validates multiple sources of knowledge and promotes the use of multiple methods of discovery and of dissemination of the knowledge produced.

3) CBR has as its goal social action and social change for the purpose of advancing social justice.

Journal Guidelines
Your journal will serve multiple purposes, from documenting your actions in the community, to serving as a “testing” area for your analysis, to being a “safe space” for you to discuss your experiences in and response to the community, the readings, and your project. I will give you some specific guidelines for the three types of entries that you should make in your journal. I will collect them every few weeks to provide you with feedback. Your journal should be kept electronically, as you will be using it for ongoing analysis and paper presentation. Some of the entries will be shared with others, while others you may wish to keep for yourself or to share only with me. We will develop operating rules for maintaining confidentiality for your community partners as well as yourself.

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