Community-Based Research (CBR) in the Education Doctorate: Lessons Learned and Promising Practices

Laurie Stevahn, Jeffrey B Anderson, Tana L Hasart
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 441-465
Community-based research (CBR) is an advanced form of academic service-learning through which university students, faculty, and community organizations collaborate to conduct inquiry projects aimed at producing social change. Despite its potential for advancing learning in graduate studies, little research exists on CBR implementations or outcomes in doctoral programs. This study examined the effectiveness of integrating CBR into an educational leadership doctorate across three consecutive cohorts in which students worked in teams to conduct CBR projects, each in partnership with a community organization pursuing a social justice initiative. A mixed-methods developmental case study design produced quantitative and qualitative data on students’ perceived effectiveness of cooperative/collaborative interaction and team decision making in CBR, experience with and learning from CBR in the education doctorate, and development of CBR competencies. Triangulated results overall revealed students’ (a) positive attitudes toward CBR, (b) enhanced understanding of and commitment to CBR and how to conduct it, (c) expanded understanding and application of technical research skills, (d) growth in coopera-tive/collaborative and conflict resolution skills, and (e) development of leadership project management skills. These findings may assist faculty in planning innovative, authentic, applied, professional training in the education doctorate capable of advancing students’ graduate inquiry skills while also enhancing competencies for successful leadership in the field.
community-based research, academic service-learning, doctoral student development, education doctorate, educational leadership, cooperative learning, experiential learning, pro-ject-based learning
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