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A student's perspective on community based research


Conducting research on a local non-profit organization was both challenging and insightful. As an undergraduate, conducting original research was unknown territory. Fortunately, my research group selected an organization that we found interesting, making the research that much easier.  

My research group consisted of 3 other students from our Communications Research Methods class with Dr. Bowman. It was helpful to work on a team and learn together. We were able to share responsibilities, voice our frustrations, and brainstorm ways to improve our research methods. We took our understanding of the course subject matter to another level by applying concepts learned in class to the real world. For example, we learned how to best phrase survey questions, measure survey responses, and apply our findings to our project.  

Throughout our research we encountered limitations. For instance, we underestimated how difficult it would be to communicate with very busy non-profit leaders. At times our surveys failed to produce data that was relevant to our hypothesis. Despite limitations, we learned from our mistakes and finished with interesting results. Our results were surprising and turned out different than what we first expected to find. Due to this assignment, we are now better prepared to tackle future research projects and can apply these skills to our future careers.

-Kayla Gomes, ’10 Communication Studies

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