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ERIC Number: ED497607
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jun
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
The Role of Civic Skills in Fostering Civic Engagement. CIRCLE Working Paper 06
Kirlin, Mary
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
The idea of a set of skills, usually called civic skills, which are required to effectively participate in civic and political life, is integral to many concepts of political participation. This literature search is designed to investigate what is known about civic skills empirically and theoretically including how they are defined and measured, and what relationship they have to political participation. This literature review began with the work most familiar to political scientists, Verba, Schlozman and Brady's "Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics" (1995). which defines civic skills and incorporates them into a larger conceptual framework on political participation. From political science, the author moved to the education field, where civic skills-related literature is dispersed in the civic education and service learning arenas. A third set of research focused on experimental programs including service learning and youth development. The author explored psychology literature, looking at authors whose work has crossed between developmental psychology and political socialization as related to skill development. The author notes that there is dispersion of literature with very little cross-over; disparate fields seem to be doing important work, with significant overlap in findings and observations, but most authors stay largely focused on their own disciplinary predecessors, not venturing deeply into other disciplines to inform their work. Kirlin concludes with several observations about the state of knowledge concerning civic skills and a menu of questions for further research attention, including: (1) Lack of definition; (2) Need for better understanding of the process of how to measure emerging civic skills; (3) Concepts about how civic skills relate to broader questions of civic engagement, and political participation between disciplines; (4) Lack of literature and understanding of such complex skill acts as learning to work with others to achieve a common good; (5) Exploration of the rationale for placement of civic skills within specific age groupings; (6) Better understanding of skill transfer and causal relationships; (7) Importance of organization structure; (8) Consideration of civic skills in complete context, rather than in a vacuum; and (9) Encouraging as well as understanding factors in political participation. (Contains 3 figures.) [This document was produced by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).]
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). University of Maryland, School of Public Policy, 2101 Van Munching Hall, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-2790; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A