The cases are two-year projects. The objectives of the case studies will be to understand the impact of the participating organization on the participants in the organization and the broader community, the capacity issues it faces, and to help the organization create strategies to address those capacity issues. The case studies will utilize a community-based participatory research approach (Balcazar et al., 2005; Jason et al., 2004; Marsick & Gephart, 2003; Minkler & Wallerstein, 2003; Reason & Bradbury, 2007; Stoecker, 2005) that involves working with the organizations to address issues raised through the research process. To accomplish the latter, the results of the case studies will be discussed at annual symposia in which the research team for the case study will work with the broader alliance to help create strategies to improve capacity.
The research team for each case will consist of a university researcher, a graduate student research assistant, and a community partner from the organization that is being studied. For each case, time release is budgeted for a representative of the community partner organization so that they can be active participants in the research process. The graduate students are receiving a research experience and, in some cases, this experience will lead to theses.