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The Plight of Invisibility

A Community-Based Approach to Understanding the Educational Experiences of Urban Latina/os


Donna Marie Harris and Judy Marquez Kiyama

The Plight of Invisibility offers unique contributions that inform the use of a community-based research approach that examines educational issues identified by urban, Latina/o communities. It offers a new lens from which to understand the circumstances of Latina/o students in schools as they navigate in social systems that are in opposition to them, thus rendering Latina/o students and their families invisible. Despite these challenges, the book offers examples of community programs and resources that support and address the needs of Latina/o students as they build resiliency and determination to persist. Community organizations and advocates, educational researchers, practitioners, students, and policymakers will find The Plight of Invisibility useful to reframe deficit discourses about Latina/o students and their families. In addition, the book is appropriate for classes including methodology courses focused on community-based research, educational policy and/or college access courses, and Latina/o studies courses.
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3. A Community-Based Approach: Review of Community Context, Frameworks, and Methods

Community-Based Research


3. A Community-Based Approach: Review of Community Context, Frameworks, and Methods


The two preceding chapters in this collection describe the call to action that served as the starting point for this project, as well as the rich history and years of advocacy embedded within the local Latina/o community. What we provide in this chapter are an overview and the rationale behind the community-based research approach that guided our work. In addition, we detail the theoretical frameworks informing the study, the participants, data collection, and analysis procedures.

The development of this study and the subsequent community advocacy and involvement that followed initial dissemination of research findings was guided by the principles of community-based research. Community-based research (CBR) is defined as “a partnership of students, faculty, and community members who collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or effecting social change” (Strand, Marullo, Cutforth, Stoecker, & Donohue, 2003, p. 3). CBR engages the community as a participatory partner in project research design and implementation, values community knowledge, and works towards shared understanding and improved ways to address societal problems (Israel, Eng, Schulz, & Parker, 2005; Polanyi & Cockburn, 2003). The term community can represent multiple entities, including educational institutions and community-based organizations, service agencies, and/or groups of people (Strand et al., 2003). In this particular project, the study originated at the community-based organization level, ← 33 | 34 → but the community as a...

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