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Monday, September 25, 2023

Academics & Research

Researchers looking to analyze AAPI civic engagement

AAPI Research

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Researchers at UH have launched a project studying civic engagement in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities within the greater Houston area. 

The study will span three years and will in part be run by a team of pre-selected youth members of AAPI descent. 

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of research done on this topic,” said associate professor at the UH College of Social Work and the lead researcher Suzanne Pritzker. “Especially regarding AAPI youth.”

The project aims to determine whether AAPI youth feel they are included and fairly represented within their greater communities. 

“This study is qualitative, not quantitative,” Pritzker said. “How you or I define civic engagement isn’t the relevant question here, it’s how (AAPI communities) define it and whether or not they feel they are included in the civic process.”

Pritzker, who is also working with six other non-profit organizations, will assemble a team of AAPI youth from around Houston to assist in the research. 

“They won’t just be sitting on the sidelines, they’ll be an active part of the research process,” Pritzker said.

Community participatory research centers around involving participants in the work itself, rather than treating those involved simply as subjects to be studied. The youth selected to participate in the study will undergo training at the Institutional Review Board, an organization which sets standards and practices for conducting human research. 

“The goal here is to avoid alienation,” Pritzker said. “We want these people to know that they aren’t just data points, they’re an active and valued part of the process.”

Data collection won’t be the only responsibility, but also the formulation of the research itself. This includes creating focus group questions, conducting peer-based studies as well as drawing conclusions and providing recommendations to organizations based on the research.

The study is only a few months into the predicted three-year span, but the process is moving along smoothly, Pritzker said. 

“We’ve completed the planning phase and are now moving on to assembling a research team,”  Pritzker said. “So far we have five AAPI youth signed on to be a part of the process.”

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