The Practice of Community Action
(The Action Research Seminar) Sociology 370 / Political Science 370, Fall 2004, CLA 305
This seminar, bridging theory and applied research in community action, uses a learner-centered teaching approach. The course introduces the student as “scholar-citizen” to the multiple ways of seeking information on communities, examining community issues, developing action plans, and implementing proactive programs. In this course, students learn the interviewing, networking, and organizing skills that they will need to be effective agents of change.
Course goals for students are to:
By the end of this course, students are expected to complete:
Stringer, Ernest T. 1999. Action Research. Second edition. Thousand Oaks , Ca.: Sage Publications. Please bring Stringer’s book to class each Tuesday.
E-Reserves: Required e-reserves at Ames Library (password: action ) include:
Action Research Center Resource Cabinet
In the file cabinet outside CLA 263 are materials for review as you work on your respective projects. Some of the selections include:
Attendance: Required. Since we meet only once a week, missing one day is equivalent to missing a week of class. Please be on time for each class.
Exercises, community partner presentations, discussions, team activities, and skill building demand our full attention from 6:00-8:30 pm .
Readings , Student Challenges & Opportunities for Tuesdays ( 6:00-8:30 pm ).
Except for August 31, read the assigned material prior to each class period to prepare for discussions and quizzes.
Aug 31: (S) Stringer’s Chapters 1 & 2, pp.1-42: “Research in Professional and Public Life,” “Principles of Community-Based Action Research.”
Sept 7: Due: Clean draft of your resume
Read (S) Chapters 3 & 4, pp. 43-88: “Setting the Stage” and “Look: Building the Picture.”
Sept 14: Due: Resumes, for possible distribution to community partners.
Read (BC) pp. 240-242: “Conclusion: Collaboration Gives Hope and Voice in an Age of Disenchantment.”
Community Partner Presentations and Opportunities
Sept 21: Community Partner Presentations and Opportunities:
Sept 28: Read (S) Chapter 5, pp.89-114: “Think: Interpreting and Analyzing.”
Community Partner Presentation and Opportunities:
Oct 5: Due: Journals
Read (S) Chapters 6 & 7, pp. 115-163: “Act: Resolving the Problems” and “Act: Resolving Complex Problems.”
Breakout time for teams: Building a preliminary picture, Stringer: 59-60.
Oct 12: Read (S) Chapter 9, pp.187-215: “Understanding Action Research: The Theory Behind the Practice” and (BC) pp. 3-13: “University-Community Collaborative Research: Adding Chairs at the Research Table”
Oct 19: Due: Paper on individual student objectives and plan for the team project.
Team Breakout Time: This is a special time for team meetings and consultation with course faculty. Use your journal entries and on-site volunteer experiences as background information to share with team members. Formulate a preliminary team action plan (see Stringer, page 144, for content categories) and assign rotating community contact persons.
Oct 26: Due: Team action plan and individual tasks
Read Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father, 123-171
Nov 2: Due: Journals and additional team preliminary pictures, action plans and presentations of feedback.
Read (HAR) pp. 356-362: “Participatory Research and Education for Social Change: Highlander Research and Education Center ,” and pp. 396-402: “ Six Street Youth Who Could . . .”
Nov 9: Read (BC) pp.32-41: “Case Study 1: Creating and Sustaining Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities”; pp. 85-91: “Case Study 9: Local Knowledge and Collaborative Environmental Action Research”; and pp. 219-225: “Case Study 25: The Imperfect Practice of Collaborative Research: The ‘Working Group on Neighborhoods’ in Toledo , Ohio .”
Nov 16: Formal audio-visual presentations to class of community action projects
Nov 23: No Class: Thanksgiving Break
Nov 30: Formal audio-visual presentations to class of community action projects
Dec 7: Formal audio-visual presentations to class of community action projects
Dec 14: Due: Journals and Team Project Reports
Students will be graded on the following:
10% Quizzes on readings scheduled for most Tuesdays.
10% Classroom, team, and community partner contributions (resume¢, on-site work, skill exercises engaged, participates in class discussions, etc.)
20% Two papers (10% each): Individual student objectives and plan for team project, and an editorial or press release regarding your community partner project.
20% Team’s written preliminary pictures and action plans.
15% Team’s formal presentation, with Powerpoint, on BN community partner project. Include in your presentation the following: your project as informed by Stringer’s basic steps and information for developing an action plan, as well as your experiences with the community partner, background history of partner organization, table of organization and where your project fits into the organization, timeline and objectives for this semester and beyond.
25% Journal: Each student maintains a weekly synopsis of plans and actions taken by the student, individually and as a team member. As plans and actions change, explain what changed, why it changed, and your personal involvement during those changes. What did you learn from the changes?
Journals must be dated, current, and kept weekly throughout the semester, using only your ideas and writing style. Journals are due at the start of class on October 5, November 2, and December 14 (last day of class). Journals will be returned the following Tuesday.
|Jim Sikora, CLA 263, 556-3163
MW 1-2 and 3:15-3:45
Tu 10:45-11:45 and 2-4
Th 10:45-11:45 and by appointment
|Jim Simeone, CLA 251, 556-3126
W 9-12 and 1-2
and by appointment