Guiding Principles for Community Engagement: Reflections on a School-Based Sustainability Project
AbstractThis article describes an action research project in which community psychologists worked with a school community to promote environmentally sustainable practices. Our research team had five guiding principles: strengths-based, empowerment, role modeling, communication, and measurement and feedback. Here we describe a phenomenological study of how we experienced our principles and how key participants from the school perceived our professional practice. Each research team member completed a self-reflective survey and key staff and students from the school were interviewed. Amongst other benefits, the principles were valuable in promoting coherence within the research team, guiding decision-making and providing a framework for critical reflection. Recommendations are given for researchers and community practitioners interested in initiating sustainability projects with local organizations or using a similar principles-based approach in other collaborative endeavors.
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