CivicLEADS releases data from Stanford Civic Purpose Project, a mixed methods dream

Researchers now have access to data from the Stanford Civic Purpose Project, which explores the development of civic purposes among young people from diverse backgrounds in the state of California. The study’s quantitative and qualitative data provide new insights into the varying social and identity issues impacting civic purpose and engagement.

The Stanford Civic Purpose Project is available from ICPSR’s Civic Learning, Engagement, and Action Data Sharing (CivicLEADS) website. It is one of ICPSR’s largest, publicly-available, mixed methods studies to date with over 90 interview files which have been carefully curated to protect the privacy of study participants. Survey and interview data were collected from high school seniors to gauge civic experiences, attitudes, and motivations impacting political, community, and expressive civic involvement. Schools were selected to participate based on socioeconomic, ethnic, and immigrant status diversity.  Participating seniors were invited to a follow-up survey and interview administered two years after the initial collection period.

Researchers at Stanford University found a significant association between gender and community service purpose, and between both student’s ethnicity and mother’s level of education on all civic purpose categories. Both survey and interview data exhibit several motivation factors, such as student participation being driven by career aspirations or religious and moral values. A common theme found amongst the interview data was the connection between identity salience and civic purpose.  

“We found that civic involvement was a way for some youth to respond to social identity issues, and, because of their deep attachments to their identity group and the centrality of those issues, they found purpose in those civic activities,” writes the authors (Malin H. , Ballard P.J., and Damon W.) of “Civic Purpose: an Integrated Construct for Understanding Civic Development in Adolescence.”

Conversely, researchers also noted that some participants faced challenges to their civic engagement because of their ethnic group identity, particularly girls going against ethnic and family expectations.

The project was conducted at the Stanford Center on Adolescence and was supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation’s New Civics Initiative.

For more information:
Researchers can access the Stanford Civic Purpose Project data on the CivicLEADS website.

Contact: Bianca Monzon

Aug 15, 2017

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