Internet: Knowledge and Community

at The Evergreen State College

Community Inquiry

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Community Inquiry:

A tool for self directed community development

Community inquiry is the process by which an investigation or form of action is taken for a community with the involvement of the community. Betram Bruce uses the concept to describe the actions of community organizations that use the input of the communities that they serve in the process of transforming the surrounding environment. Community inquiry revolves around the principles of participatory democracy and the results are that “community members are not merely recipients of services, but . . . become part of the process of authority”(Bruce 3.) By giving this power and control over to the members of the community it allows the community members to dictate their needs and the values that they wish to uphold. Community members are allowed to become part of the definition of what areas need to be addressed and their opinions affect what results will manifest themselves. Community Inquiry also seeks that participants live in the area that they are serving; and that these communities are often made of very diverse populations. The goal of community inquiry is to find the values and importance that are shared amongst these community members.

There are many obstacles to overcoming the differences between different groups. While “individual thought and action is too often dormant, scattered, or even counterproductive”(Bruce 3) community inquiry allows social connections to be made and allows groups to work together and share ideas when they may at other times be working in opposite directions.

Relatable Material:

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples Linda Tuhiwai Smith ~ Argues for a decolonized or a non-Eurocentric methodology for scientific research and inquiry that rejects scientific distance and instead advocates for peoples to be connected and involved in their research communities in order to provide something of value to that community.

Pride Foundation~ features a scholarship program that is regionally directed by a committee of local volunteers who give awards based on their own discretion of community needs.