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Combining Youth Organizing and Youth Participatory Action Research to Strengthen Student Voice in Education Reform


by Tom Dolan, Brian D. Christens & Cynthia Lin — 2015

Community organizing efforts employ different types of research as they seek to address community issues. This chapter details the evolving use of research in a youth organizing effort in San Bernardino, CA that has addressed issues in schools, the educational system, and the broader community. We examine the youth organizers’ use of organizing research and youth participatory action research (YPAR) and the contributions of each form of research to the organizing effort.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 114. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 13, 2015, p. 153-170
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18283, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 11:13:46 PM

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About the Author
  • Tom Dolan
    Inland Congregations United for Change
    E-mail Author
    TOM DOLAN is the Executive Director of Inland Congregations United for Change, a grassroots community organizing effort that is part of the PICO National Network. He has worked in community organizing efforts in Latin America and the United States for more than 30 years. During this time, Tom has developed leaders in community organizing campaigns to address issues of violence against youth, discriminatory education policies, bank fraud and foreclosures, immigrant rights, health care, and environmental justice. Tom teaches community organizing and social change strategies at Pitzer College in a community-based education program that engages undergraduate students in research and action alongside union and community organizers.
  • Brian Christens
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
    E-mail Author
    BRIAN D. CHRISTENS is an associate professor of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he is Faculty Director of the Center for Community & Nonprofit Studies. He conducts research on community organizing and other community-driven change processes. Recent research has appeared in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Youth & Society, the Journal of Social Issues, and Social Issues and Policy Review.
  • Cynthia Lin
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
    E-mail Author
    CYNTHIA LIN is a PhD candidate in the Civil Society and Community Research program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she has earned master’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Urban and Regional Planning. She has a background in community organizing and is currently working at the National Network of Abortion Funds as Community Mobilization Manager (previously with Western States Center).
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