The Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning

Explore these widely cited and influential articles from the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, published by the Ginsberg Center.  All articles are available online and open access.

Ginsberg staff can help you identify articles in MJCSL or other journals relevant to your current community-engaged teaching, research, or service. Contact ginsberg.engage@umich.edu for questions.

A Transformative Learning Model for Service-Learning: A Longitudinal Case Study

Kiely, R. (1995). A Transformative Learning Model for Service-Learning: A Longitudinal Case Study. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 12(1), 5-22.

Abstract:
This article presents a longitudinal research study that led to the development of a theoretical framework for explaining how students experience the process of transformational learning in service-learning. The article describes non-reflective and reflective dimensions of the process of transformational learning. The author recommends that future research focus on supporting the transformative potential of service-learning.

Comparing the Effects of Community Service and Service-Learning

Vogelgesang, L.J. & Astin, A.W. (2000). Comparing the Effects of Community Service and Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 7(1), 25-34.

Abstract: This paper presents results from a study that compares course-based service-learning and generic community service. The study was a quantitative, longitudinal look at over 22,000 students at diverse colleges and universities. Student outcome comparisons are made related to values and beliefs, academic skills, leadership, and future plans. Of particular interest is the finding that connecting service with academic course material does indeed enhance the development of cognitive skills. Limitations and directions for future research are identified.

Different Worlds and Common Ground: Community Partner Perspectives on Campus-Community Partnerships

Sandy, M. & Holland, B.A. (2006). Different Worlds and Common Ground: Community Partner Perspectives on Campus-Community Partnerships. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 13(1), 30-43.

Abstract: This qualitative study includes focus group research involving 99 experienced community partners across eight California communities using community-based research techniques to capture community voices about their service-learning partnerships with different colleges and universities. Partners commented on their perspectives regarding motivations, benefits to the academic institution and to their own organization, impacts on student learning, and areas for improving partnerships. The analysis affirms the characteristics of effective partnerships of multiple well-established models of effective partnerships developed by higher education, but reveal that community partners have a specific sense of prioritization among partnership factors. In addition, partners revealed a surprising depth of understanding and commitment to student learning, the “common ground” of the service-learning experience. Community partners also voiced challenges and recommendations for their higher education partners to transform service-learning partnership relationships to bridge their “different worlds,” and enhance learning, reciprocity, and sustainability.

Pedagogical Variations in Service-Learning and Student Outcomes: How Time, Contact, and Reflection Matter

J. Beth Mabry, B.J. (1998). Pedagogical Variations in Service-Learning and Student Outcomes: How Time, Contact, and Reflection Matter. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 5(1), 32-47.

Abstract: This study contributes to more effective practice by assessing how student outcomes are affected by amount and kind of contact with service beneficiaries, and frequency and variety of reflection activities. In particular, the impacts of these pedagogical variations are examined in relation to students' (1) personal social values, (2) civic attitudes, (3) perceived course effects on civic attitudes and (4) self-reported academic benefits. Results suggest service-learning is more effective as a civic and academic pedagogy when students have (1) at least fifteen to twenty hours of service, (2) frequent contact with the beneficiaries of their service, (3) weekly in-class reflection, (4) ongoing and summative written reflection, and (5) discussions of their service experiences both with the instructors and the site supervisors.

Principles of Best Practice for Community-Based Research

Strand, K., Marullo, S., Cutforth, N., Stoecker, R., & Donohue, P. (2003). Principles of Best Practice for Community-Based Research. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 9(3), 5-15.

Abstract: Community-based research (CBR) offers higher education a distinctive form of engaged scholarship and a transformative approach to teaching and learning. In this article, we propose a CBR model that is genuinely collaborative and driven by community rather than campus interests; that democratizes the creation and dissemination of knowledge; and that seeks to achieve positive social change. We demonstrate how this model translates into principles that underlie the practice of CBR in four critical areas: campus-community partnerships, research design and process, teaching and learning, and the institutionalization of centers to support CBR.

Psychometric Properties and Correlates of the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire (CASQ): A Measure of Students’ Attitudes Related to Service-Learning

Moely, B.E., Mercer, S.H., Ilustre, V., Miron, D., & McFarland, M. (2002). Psychometric Properties and Correlates of the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire (CASQ): A Measure of Students’ Attitudes Related to Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 8(2), 15-26.

Abstract: Two samples of undergraduate students (N’s = 761, 725), enrolled in liberal arts and sciences courses at a private research university, completed a questionnaire designed to measure attitudes, skills, and behavioral intentions that might be affected by service-learning participation. Factor analyses were used to define six scales. The scales’ reliability was found to be adequate, according to internal consistency and test-retest assessments. Support for the scales’ validity was obtained by examining relationships to measures of social desirability, attitudes about race, motivational beliefs, and respondents’ demographic characteristics.

Traditional vs. Critical Service-Learning: Engaging the Literature to Differentiate Two Models

Mitchell, T.D. (2008).

Traditional vs. Critical Service-Learning: Engaging the Literature to Differentiate Two Models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14(2), 50-65.

Abstract: There is an emerging body of literature advocating a “critical” approach to community service learning with an explicit social justice aim. A social change orientation, working to redistribute power, and developing authentic relationships are most often cited in the literature as points of departure from tradition- al service-learning. This literature review unpacks these distinguishing elements.

The Impact of Service-Learning on College Students

Eyler, J., Giles, Jr., D.E., & Braxton, J. (1997). The Impact of Service-Learning on College Students. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 4(1), 5-15.

Abstract: While service-learning programs have become popular on college campuses across the country, there has been relatively little empirical data about their effects on students. The Comparing Models of Service-Learning research project has gathered data from over 1500 students at 20 colleges and universities to attempt to answer some of the pressing questions about the value added to students by combining community service and academic study. The study has found that students who choose service learning differ from those who do not in the target attitudes, skills, values and understanding about social issues. And participation in service-learning has an impact on these outcomes over the course of a semester.

The Irony of Service: Charity, Project and  Social Change in Service-Learning

Morton, K. (1995). The Irony of Service: Charity, Project and  Social Change in Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2(1), 19-32.

Abstract: This paper explores a common understanding of service as a term encompassing a continuum from charity to social change and describes the implications this understanding has for service-learning in higher education. Based upon a review of alternative theories, a student survey and interviews with practitioners, the author argues that there exists a series of related but distinct community service paradigms-charity, project, and social change-each with its own logic, strengths, limitations and vision of a transformed world. Integrity in service-learning, it is suggested, comes not by moving from charity to social change, but from working with increasing depth in a particular paradigm. An ironic situation occurs when the consequences of an act are diametrically opposed to its intentions, and the fundamental cause of the disparity lies in the actor himself and his original purposes.

Theoretical Foundations for International Service-Learning

Crabtree, R.D. (2008). Theoretical Foundations for International Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 15(1), 18-36.

Abstract: International service-learning (ISL) combines academic instruction and community-based service in an international context. Objectives of linking international travel, education, and community service include increasing participants’ global awareness, building intercultural understanding, and enhancing civic mindedness and skills. Research on cross-cultural adjustment, approaches to community development, models of democratic research, and a variety of pedagogical theories are discussed as foundations upon which we can better understand the intellectual and political context for ISL and the student learning it makes possible. These literatures also provide frameworks for creating ethical ISL experiences that positively impact the communities and developing countries where we work and can inform project assessment and critique, as well as future research.

The Theoretical Roots of Service-Learning in John Dewey: Toward a Theory of Service-Learning

Giles, Jr., D.E. & Eyler, J. (1994). The Theoretical Roots of Service-Learning in John Dewey: Toward a Theory of Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 1(1), 77-85.

Abstract: As interest in service-learning research multiplies, there is a concomitant need for a theoretical base  for service-learning. In this article the authors review aspects of John Dewey's educational and social philosophy that they identify as relevant to the development of a theory of service-learning, including learning from experience, reflective activity, citizenship, community, and democracy. The article concludes with a set of key questions for research and theory development.

Where's the Community in Service-Learning Research?

Cruz, N. I. & Giles, Jr., D.E. (2000). Where's the Community in Service-Learning Research? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spec(1), 28-34.

Abstract: The lack of research on the community dimensions of service-learning is a glaring omission in the literature. Analysis of the causes of this gap indicate that community-focused research is possible and desirable. This article presents a four dimensional model for doing research with community partners on the process and outcomes of community service-learning. The authors argue that the research should focus on the community-university partnership as the unit of analysis and that it should use a participatory action research approach.