People are social beings and they cannot live in isolation
from the community. In fact, human socialization is an essential
part of the development of any individual. At the same time,
the life within the community is quite a complicated process
that needs large social experience and the ability to use
in such a way that an individual can get integrated in a community.
In other words, social life is a natural need of any individual.
However, the life of a community is characterized by extremely
complicated processes that need to be constantly researched
and analyzed in order to better understand what actually goes
on within the particular community. Obviously, the research
of community life is also important to forecast its further
development which cannot remain unchanged. In stark contrast,
the life of any community is susceptible to permanent changes
that influence its development and, thus, in order to understand
the processes that take place in the concrete community and
forecast its development it is necessary to apply effective
methods of the research for community change. In this respect,
the book “Research Methods for Community Change: A Project
Based Approach” by Randy Stoecker may be very helpful.
Basically, the author analyzes practically all of the research
methods for the community change. On summarizing all these
methods of the research, Randy Stoecker argues that they are
extremely important as they may be widely applied in community.
According to the author, the methods he discusses in his book
can numerous problems of modern communities, provide the development
of their resources, which are getting to be more and more
scarce in the modern world. What is even more important, it
is necessary to underline that the research methods for community
change can protect cultural identity of each member of the
community in particular and the entire community at large.
The latter is particular important in the modern world when
the problem of the loss of national or cultural identity is
one of the most serious problems modern communities face in
the result of the process of globalization which not simply
eliminates geographical, financial and other barriers but
also affects dramatically national identity to the extent
that communities gradually become alike or even homogeneous.
In his book, Randy Stoecker is basically focused on practically
all methods that can be applied in a project-based research.
Moreover, he develops an effective research model which can
be easily applied in practice. In this respect, it should
be said that his model includes four main components. First
of all, Randy Stoecker believes that the first stage of the
project-based research should start from diagnosing of a community
condition. This is important to clear identification of the
existing problem and assessment of the existing situation
within a community.
The second stage or component of the model is prescribing
an intervention for the condition. Practically, this means
that the problems identified in the result of the analysis
of the current situation should be solved somehow. Consequently,
it is necessary to develop some recommendations as for their
solution or as for the essential steps that have to be undertaking
in the changing conditions of the life of a community.
The third component of his model is implementation of the
prescription that is quite a logical step. Obviously, on developing
certain recommendations or prescriptions concerning the management
of changes within a community or solution of the existing
problems, it would be logical to practically implement these
And finally, Randy Stoecker argues that it is extremely important
to carefully evaluate the impact of the steps that have been
eventually undertaken in order to properly assess their impact
on community. In fact, it is impossible to ignore the final
stage since it actually implies the analysis of the results
and outcomes of the researches and projects.
Furthermore, it should be said that the author constantly
underlines that it is impossible to conduct a research without
participation of the community. Moreover, Randy Stoecker insists
on the large cooperation of researchers, community, and local
authorities that can increase the effectiveness of the research
substantially. At the same time, the collaboration between
researchers and community is also essential since it contributes
to the mutual understanding of researchers and community.
To put it more precisely, the researchers can better understand
the current situation, community’s problems and needs
and make a reliable forecast or develop certain recommendations,
while the community can learn whether the changes that occur
are positive or negative and what could be done to make them
rather positive than negative.
Also, it is worthy of mention that the book is based on the
experience of the author and has a lot of practical examples
drawn from real life that is really helpful for those who
are interested in the problem of research methods for community
change. Moreover, the examples as well as the model developed
by Randy Stoecker and methods discussed in the book seem to
be quite efficient and may be applied in different communities
throughout the world since they are practically universal.
Another important remark, the author makes in his book is
the idea that the project-based research methods and corresponding
models are very significant to the community and development
of democracy since the author insists that they help redistribute
power and responsibility within the community.
Speaking about the structure of the book, it should be said
that it is well-organized and it is important to point out
that all theoretical information is delivered comprehensible
and supported by a large number of practical examples based
on the author’s experience. At the same time, the language
of Randy Stoecker is quite plain and, consequently, the book
can be easily understood by a wide range of readers. This
is why the audience of the book may be very large from specialists
to students and ordinary readers who are interested in the
problems of community changes, their research and management,
while humor and examples make the reading not only understandable
but also pleasant.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that this book is really
important not only from a scientific point of view but also
as source of interesting and useful information for the large
audience, including non-specialists.
1. Stoecker, Randy. Research Methods for Community Change:
A Project Based Approach. New York, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications,