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Community engagement and subgroup meta-knowledge: some factors in the soul of a community


The Knight Foundation collects data to determine what factors impact community satisfaction, local GDP growth, and interest in Knight news publications. For the 2013 Data Expo at the Joint Statistical Meetings, participants created graphical explorations of these data. This article focuses on the idea of community meta-knowledge, which is essentially majority group empathy or understanding of how minorities experience their community. For example, the survey asks participants to rate their community “as a place for senior citizens,” on a 5-point Likert scale. A city where seniors rated their community in the same way as non-seniors is defined as a community with high meta-knowledge about conditions for seniors. Three minority groups were explored: seniors, families with young children, and racial minorities. In most communities, people outside the minority group tended to under-rate their community, compared to those in the minority group. However, meta knowledge about racial minorities stood out as an exception.

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Correspondence to Amelia A. McNamara.

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McNamara, A.A. Community engagement and subgroup meta-knowledge: some factors in the soul of a community. Comput Stat 34, 1511–1535 (2019).

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  • 2013 Data exposition
  • R
  • ggplot2
  • Likert scales
  • Meta-knowledge