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Community Organizing as a Research Approach

  • By: James W. Dearing
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Community organizing is a cooperative process of identifying and bringing resources of a variety of types to bear on the achievement of goals that are shared by community members. With increasing numbers and severity of problems and the birth of so many new online communities, community organizing is more important to the field of health communication than ever before.

A community has traditionally meant a voluntary set of loose associations among community members. Through communication, cooperation, and co-location, members develop and reflect shared norms. So, people, place, social interaction, and psychological identification are necessary elements of a community. The “place” of a community can be geographic or online.

Organizing in communities occurs in response to perceived need. The perception of need may arise from a private resident ...

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