Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 291–300

Opening doors and building capacity: Employing a community-based approach to surveying

  • Sue A. Kaplan
  • Keri-Nicole Dillman
  • Neil S. Calman
  • John Billings
Original Articles: Various Topics

DOI: 10.1093/jurban/jth115

Cite this article as:
Kaplan, S.A., Dillman, KN., Calman, N.S. et al. J Urban Health (2004) 81: 291. doi:10.1093/jurban/jth115

Abstract

Although many community-based initiatives employ community residents to undertake door-to-door surveys as a form of community mobilization or for purposes of needs assessment or evaluation, very little has been published on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. This article discusses our experience in undertaking such a survey in collaboration with a coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the South Bronx, New York. Although resource constraints limited the already-strained capacity of the CBOs to provide supervision, the CBOs and community surveyors helped us gain access to neighborhood buildings and to individuals who might otherwise have been inaccessible. The survey process also contributed to the coalition’s community outreach efforts and helped to link the CBO leadership and staff more closely to the coalition and its mission. Many of the surveyors enhanced their knowledge and skills in ways that have since benefited them or the coalition directly. The participating CBOs continue to be deeply engaged in the coalitions’ work, and many of the surveyors are active as community health advocates and have taken leadership roles within the coalition.

Keywords

Community engagement Community-based research Participatory research Public health partnerships 

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue A. Kaplan
    • 1
  • Keri-Nicole Dillman
    • 1
  • Neil S. Calman
    • 2
  • John Billings
    • 1
  1. 1.The Center for Health and Public Service Research, The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public ServiceNew York UniversityNew York
  2. 2.Institute for Urban Family Health, Clinical Professor of Family MedicineAlbert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva UniversityNew York
  3. 3.New York

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