Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Community Engagement Model Development plans

So, I want to spend some time learning about community engagement.  Since I began this final internship of my graduate education, this seems to be a huge part that's missing in community change efforts.  I want to know what I can learn from the research out there - what are well-researched methods? what are best evidence-based practices? what "should" we be using in our change projects? when is best to poll the community?  in the beginning, before we start, as a check-up on progress, to gain satisfaction rating on the job we're doing, in the end as an evaluative measure?  ALL OF THE ABOVE?  How can we partner with communities and their members, the people who are actually affected most by these changes, and the ones who probably know best (despite our best efforts at studying them)?  How can we act as community members' consultants, instead of what usually happens that we end up doing things to them?

Below is a mind map of some of the thoughts I have on the issue, and where I want to go with these ideas.  Ultimately, I'd like to continue the work that I'm doing at my internship -- collaborating with other community planning staff on unique ways that we can do this as social scientists, ways that including use of the many tools available to us on the Internet, and ways that make partnering with community representatives and stakeholders as painless, inexpensive, and rewarding as possible.

I don't know if anyone will read this, but I'm looking for people to partner with to work on this project.  I have an idea to start us off with that I believe would be effective. 

If you think you might be interested, please let me know.  Eventually, I want to publish a paper about the development of the model and the data collected about its effectiveness during testing.  At the least, I want to publish it in the "grey literature" (websites and other self-publishing media).

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