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Research & Development at Community Science

Community Science has a 17 year history in the research and development of products and strategies that help develop healthy, just and equitable communities. Our current research and development efforts are focused on three important products:

* JourneyStart - a unique on-line assessment and action tool for health-related and other organizations that want to improve their capacity to work cross-culturally. Based on our research, we know there is no single culturally competency assessment that examines an organization’s readiness to examine its cross-cultural competency and take action. JourneyStart focuses on an organization’s policies, procedures, and practices and provides advice on how to strengthen the organization’s cross-cultural capacity, not the individuals within the organization.
* ChangeThinkers - A web based system to provide support to grantees and others engaged in initiatives to share ideas and best practices, get help and find resources in order to create a learning community. ChangeThinkers can also be customized to provide a different groups with their own unique grantee monitoring system.
* Strength of Community Workshop and Toolkit - An assessment and action kit that builds on our internationally used Sense of Community Index-2 to help funders, government agencies, and community groups learn how strong a community they have and how to strengthen it even further. The idea for this toolkit comes from the substantial research that shows the wide range of benefits that come from having a strong sense of community - improved capacity to address social change issues and developing stronger individuals, families, and communities.

We’re also in the research and development phase of a fourth product, the Community Capacity Assessment that examines a collaborative and community’s ability to advocate for and implement community and systems change efforts. This product is being tested in 14 communities and we will report on it further in the near future.

These products are the result of Community Science’s research into what works and how best to apply that knowledge in terms of the types of “tools” and strategies that communities, organizations or individuals can use. They have been tested and evaluated to Community Science’s rigorous standards to improve their use and effectiveness.

In developing these products and strategies, one of our primary goals is that they be affordable (in terms of money, time, and capacity) to small and medium size non-profit organizations. We’ve been successful in taking tools and products developed for large organizations and redesign them for broader use.

Examples of past products of Community Science’s R & D work include:

Development of the Sense of Community Index-2 (SCI-2)- Based on the wide spread use, domestically and internationally, of the Sense of Community Index, Community Science developed the SCI-2 which incorporates new research in the field, more complete coverage of the sense of community theory, and psychometric concerns in the literature about it subscales. The results have been quite impressive with researchers from around the world studying a sense of community in many settings including: urban neighborhoods, communities experiencing landmine removal, rural communities, schools, youth organizations, recreational clubs, and universities.
Building Intergroup Relations through Community Building- With funding from the Ford, Mott, and Kellogg Foundations and work with other national organizations such as the American Psychological Association, Community Science developed this research based approach to building more inclusive communities. We researched the scientific and practice literature to develop principles to guide these initiatives and these principles guided a capacity building initiative supporting 11 communities in three rounds of research and development activities. The results in many of these communities were impressive: cross-cultural community organizations address important community issues (e.g. child safety), changes in relationships with politicians and funders, and increases in civic participation among immigrants.

If you are interested in these or other R&D projects, please contact Kien Lee at

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