This page contains information for the research-minded colleague who may be interested in the empirical evidence of the effectiveness of service learning approaches, both as a pedagogy, but also how the pedagogy can increase knowledge in other areas. The reader will find that both qualitative and quantitative approaches have been utilized across diverse populations, investigating a wide range of issues from classroom learning to civic engagement to attitudes/beliefs.
The Measure of Service Learning: Research Scales to Assess Student Experiences (2004) by Robert G. Bringle, PhD, and Mindy A. Phillips, and Michael Hudson The Measure of Service Learning will be a valuable resource for program evaluators and researchers who want to inform the practice of service learning. This useful volume provides an extensive compilation of scales for use in studying students in service learning classes.
Community-Campus Partnerships for Health promotes health (broadly defined) through partnerships between communities and higher educational institutions, including service-learning and community-based participatory research partnerships.
IEA Civic Education Study research which has addressed the civic engagement and knowledge of large representative samples of 14-year-olds in 28 countries and 17-18 year olds in 16 countries. Participation in service-related activities is among the topics surveyed (and over the next year more data analysis will be appearing on the site about this issue).
Program Evaluation Research on Cultural Studies addresses the role of the scientific method in advancing service learning. Outcome data from the student project assisted the Dean of th College in developing a curriculum proposal for a "Cultural Studies" program that was eventually approved as a minor in the College.
Impact of Service Learning
Service learning participation has an impact on academic outcomes, e.g. complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development.
Eyler, J.S. & Giles, D.E., Jr. (1999). Where’s the learning in service-learning? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
Knowledge Gained through Service Learning Pedagogies
Service learning has a positive impact on reducing stereotypes and facilitating cultural & racial understanding.
Astin, A.W., & Sax, L.J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39, 251-263.
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse: This organization is a collaborative project between the National Youth Leadership Council, the University of Minnesota and thirteen other organizations and institutions, funded by the Corporation for National Service. At this site you can find a bibliography on the impacts and effects of service with an emphasis on high school settings.
The Michigan Journal of Community Service publishes scholarly articles in the area of service learning MJCSL is a peer-reviewed journal consisting of articles written by faculty and service learning educators on research, theory, pedagogy, and issues pertinent to the service learning community.