Possibility Lab Partners with Mt. Tamalpais College to Launch Research Methods Class for Students at San Quentin

As researchers, we are trained to bring objectivity and systematic methods of inquiry to our work. However, we are often outsiders to the communities we study, and so do not always have insight into the questions that are a priority to people within that community, or how best to answer those questions in an accessible way.

That’s why we’re engaging with and training diverse leaders, justice-impacted families, and formerly incarcerated individuals so they can help formulate the research questions that emerge from their unique perspectives and experience, and utilize rigorous research methods to answer the questions that matter most to them and those in their communities.

As part of this work, we recently partnered with Mt. Tamalpais College (formerly the Prison University Project) to launch a research methods class for students at San Quentin State Prison. In this semester-long course, students learned how to articulate a theory of change, formulate an empirical research question, design and carry out a data collection strategy and summarize their results. By the end of the semester, students had conducted interviews, carried out surveys, and prepared final reports and presentations to share their findings.

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