ERIC Number: EJ1100031
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
Actionable Data Projects: Social Science and Service-Learning in General Education Courses
Maloyed, Christie L.
Journal of Political Science Education, v12 n2 p115-127 2016
The use of service-learning pedagogies in general education courses is often limited to increasing volunteerism or civic literacy with problem-based or research-based projects reserved for upper level courses. This article examines the implementation of an "actionable data" service-learning project in an introductory, general studies course, which enrolled mostly freshmen and nonmajors. Combining elements of community-based research, action research, and service-learning, this project required students to undertake a research project on their own campus designed to affect meaningful policy change. Students used basic social science research methods to understand the policy-making process, to gather information from various stakeholders, to analyze alternative proposals, and to lobby for change. I examine the process for implementing this type of student-directed project and the limits of this type of service-learning assignment. Analysis of student reactions to the project indicates that participation had a positive effect on their interest in civic engagement and their sense of efficacy. This type of project is a low-cost and effective option to introduce students to social science research and service-learning in general education courses.
Descriptors: Service Learning, General Education, Introductory Courses, Student Projects, Research Projects, Social Science Research, Research Methodology, Policy Formation, Student Attitudes, Citizen Participation, Action Research, College Students, Political Science
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A