Observing Civic Engagement

This project uses the method systematic social observation to collect data on organizations’ internal dynamics and to understand how those dynamics influence organizational outcomes.

The contemporary U.S. is plagued by high levels of inequality, stark political divisions, and a crisis of democratic legitimacy. In previous periods of social turmoil in U.S. history, civil society organizations (CSOs) have responded by fostering civic engagement, facilitating social cohesion, and stimulating collective political action. These organizations, ranging from neighborhood associations to business associations to social movement groups, are ubiquitous in the U.S. and, as such, have long been a focus of social science research. While much is known about the range of experiences that participants may have inside CSOs, little is known about how often participants actually do have those experiences on a day-to-day basis—and how those internal dynamics influence CSOs’ effectiveness in generating greater civic participation, stimulating political action, and promoting social flourishing.

Project Leadership
Brad R. Fulton
Matthew Baggetta
Funding Sources
  • AmeriCorps
  • Charity Navigator
  • Indiana University
Related Awards

2018 Dugan Research Award on Philanthropic Impact

Charity Navigator and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)

Work with Brad R. Fulton

Work with
Brad R. Fulton

To learn more details about this project or to work with Brad R. Fulton, please contact him below.

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