Stanford Civic Purpose Project: Longitudinal Study of Youth Civic Engagement in California, 2011-2013 (ICPSR 36561)

Published: Nov 10, 2017

Principal Investigator(s):
William Damon, Stanford University. Center on Adolescence

Version V1

In 2011, the Stanford University Center on Adolescence initiated a longitudinal study of civic purpose development in adolescence, with a particular focus on the civic experiences, attitudes, and motivations of young people from diverse backgrounds in the state of California. A survey on civic purpose and civic engagement was completed November 2011 by 1,578 high school seniors, and 50 of those seniors participated in an interview after they completed the survey. Additionally, nine youth civic exemplars were nominated by civic and community organizations, and were included in the study. Participants were invited to partake in follow-up surveys 9 months and 21 months later. Survey and interview questions covered topics such as community involvement, political and campaign knowledge, civic engagement, perceptions of America and U.S. government, and experiences with discrimination. Additional topics include information on the participants' conceptions of American citizenship, educational setting, and parental civic and community engagement. Demographic information collected about each respondent included age, race, gender, education, and employment status.

Damon, William. Stanford Civic Purpose Project: Longitudinal Study of Youth Civic Engagement in California, 2011-2013. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-11-10.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote

Spencer Foundation (201100117)


2011-11 -- 2013-08

2011-11 -- 2013-08

The study is mixed methods data type. The study includes survey data and interview data. Interviews were semi-structured as the interviews followed a questionnaire. Interviewers were instructed to probe respondents after each question for further depth and meaning.

The first data collection (Time 1) occurred November, 2011 when participants were seniors in high school. Participants were invited to complete the survey again the summer after graduation, however due to low response rates this wave was dropped from the dataset. In the third wave, now referred to as Time 2, participants were offered a $20 incentive. This incentive produced 480 participants of the original 1,578.

For additional information on the Stanford Civic Purpose project, please visit the Stanford Center on Adolescence Web site.

Project Director: Heather Malin

The study explores adolescences' development of "civic purpose," defined as a sustained intention to contribute to one's society through participation in civic and political action. A goal of the study is to discover what motivates civically-active young people from populations that have not shown an inclination towards participation, in addition to identify factors that inhibit civic action among non-involved youth in such populations.

Longitudinal study design.

Three different regions of California were selected for regional diversity and for the ethnic and immigrant diversity within each of the three regions. From those regions, high schools were selected for ethnic, SES, and immigrant diversity. School administrators were contacted to invite their school to participate. From each school that participated, all seniors were invited to participate and had the opportunity to complete the survey during a required class period. Interviewees were selected from the survey sample, according to the method described in the study description.

Longitudinal: Cohort / Event-based

High school seniors in California.


survey data

An ID variable is provided to link data files.

Several Likert-type scales were used.



2017-11-10 Slight revisions made to study description, collection notes, and documentation.

2017-01-30 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data do not contain weight variables.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
civicleads logo

This study is maintained and distributed by Civic Learning, Engagement, and Action Data Sharing (CivicLEADS). CivicLEADS provides infrastructure for researchers to share and access high-quality datasets to study civic education, civic action, and the relationships between the two.