Engaging Students: Conducting Community-Based Research in the Senior Capstone Course

Dennis J. Downey


Engaging undergraduate students in community-based research (CBR) offers rich benefits to both students and communities (Strand, Marullo, Cutforth, Stoeker, & Donahue, 2006). Finding ways to expand its application promises to multiply those benefits. Senior capstone courses represent a promising vehicle for that expansion, as they are also generally research based and extremely common in contemporary higher education (Hauhart & Grahe, 2015). However, CBR and capstones each have multiple goals and present significant challenges, raising questions about the feasibility of merging practices. This research presents a case study of a capstone sociology course organized around group-based CBR projects. The case demonstrates that CBR-focused capstones, if intentionally designed, are feasible. Assessments by students and community partners provide evidence that the course also achieved the goals of capstones and of CBR. Discussion addresses steps taken since the initial case study to sustain and institutionalize the practice, including measures to assist instructors.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

For MAC OS X users: If you are having trouble viewing PDF files in the Firefox browser, visit this site, or view the PDF files using the Safari browser. Any questions can be sent to jheoe@uga.edu.