CERG Description

The goal of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) is to provide an evidence base that informs the design of policies and programs that promote the development of citizens for an effective, just, and humane democratic society.

Building Social Capital for Civic and Political Engagement: The Potential of High School Civic Courses
by Joseph Kahne, Bernadette Chi, and Ellen Middaugh
January 1, 2006
The researchers employed a quasi-experimental design using pre/post surveys and comparisons with control groups to examine the impact of the Constitutional Rights Foundations's CityWorks (USA) curriculum. In particular, we assessed its ability to further democratic aims by supporting the development of three forms of social capital: norms of civic participation, social trust, and knowledge of social networks. Our evaluation indicates that this curriculum and several of its curricular features (use of simulations, role models, service learning about problems in the community, learning how local government works, and personal relevance) have the potential to further the democratic purposes of education.