Urban Neighborhoods: Research and Policy

By Ralph B. Taylor | Go to book overview

SEVEN Roles for Research and the Researcher in Neighborhood Development

David M. Chavis and Abraham Wandersman3

This chapter is about the utility and use of neighborhood research for neighborhood development. We discuss traditionally perceived obstacles in the relationship between researcher and resident regarding the research process and ways to use the research. We believe that the gap between researcher and resident can be bridged and that attempts to use neighborhood research can be beneficial to both scientists and citizens. A major premise of this chapter is that scientists are citizens and citizenship has its responsibilities. The Neighborhood Participation Project, a basic research project that investigated citizen participation in block associations, is briefly described. We then present two examples of using research for neighborhood development. The first describes the return of basic research to the host community (where the data were collected). A partnership between residents and researchers was formed to examine the usefulness of the data to the residents and to develop a workshop for block organization leaders that discussed the research and how it could be used. The second example describes the development of a workshop for using the development of a sense of community as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. The workshop was developed for and in collaboration with a national technical assistance organization. We conclude with additional reflections and suggestions for turning research into practice. We emphasize how important it is for neighborhood researchers to be concerned with the research role and the use of neighborhood research.

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