USP 301 - Introduction to Community Development: Community Research
Researching Your Community
When working collaboratively with any organization, it is important to understand the communities you are serving. You should research to find information about your community that complements what you already know. You want to get the whole picture. Questions that may help guide this research include:
- Who lives in the community or who is a community member?
- What is it like to be a part of that community?
- What are the community's defining characteristics?
This page points you to resources for demographic information. Using demographics can help you form a rich, data-driven picture of your community, and it enables you to better understand the social context behind the problem you are trying to solve.
What are and why use demographics?
"The term demographics refers to particular characteristics of a population. The word is derived from the Greek words for people (demos) and picture (graphy). Examples of demographic characteristics include age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, income, education, home ownership, sexual orientation, marital status, family size, health and disability status, and psychiatric diagnosis."
-Lee, M., & Schuele, C. (2010). Demographics. In Neil J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Research Design. (pp. 347-348). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Get Started with Social Explorer
4 Step Guide to Community Profile Reports in PolicyMap
1. Click on Reports
2. Select Community Profile as your report type and enter in the the location. Location can be a city, state, zip code, or census tract.
3. Click on generate report. This should appear in the upper right hand side of the screen above the map display.
4. Wait for your report to load, and then explore the data.