Places that Matter asks the reader to identify a place that matters in their life—their home, a place of worship, a park, or some other place that acts as an emotional and physical anchor connecting them to a neighborhood. Then they’re asked: in what ways do I currently support, or fail to support, that neighborhood? Should support be increased? If so, in what ways?
To answer these questions, Joan Ferrante guides students through a learning experience that centers on the power of qualitative and quantitative research to write a meaningful plan of action or research brief. Students are introduced to basic concepts of research and are exposed to the experiences of gathering and drawing on data to write about something immediate and personal. This class-tested experience is perfect for courses such as urban sociology, rural sociology, social problems, research methods, applied research, assessment, or any course that gives emphasis to action-based research and social responsibility. The book’s overarching goal is to help students assess their neighborhood’s needs and strengths, and then create a concrete plan that supports that neighborhood and promotes its prosperity.
Accompanying the book is a facilitator’s companion website to guide action-based research experiences, including rubrics aligned to common learning objectives to make tracking and reporting easier.
Joan Ferrante is Professor of Sociology at Northern Kentucky University and author of Sociology: A Global Perspective and Seeing Sociology: An Introduction, and co-author of The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States with Prince Brown, Jr. She is creator and director of the Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories Project.