Adapting And Implementing A Social Capital Survey For Urban Youth In An After-School Science 4-H Club
The purpose of this study was to adapt and implement a pilot study of a social capital survey in an after-school youth development program focusing on environmental science in urban youth. This study is a good first step at addressing a lack of social capital studies on youth and seeks to measure this important construct. Two multi-week series (8- and 14-weeks) of lessons for urban youth were implemented, which integrated activities focusing on the students‟ local environment (e.g., a unit in which students explored fecal coliform populations in a local wastewater treatment plant) and activities drawing on the author‟s experiences as an environmental educator in South Africa (e.g., an introduction to cholera in Africa and how South African youth test for cholera using simple test kits). A mixed methods approach was used, including written surveys and focus group interviews, to determine the adaptability of a social capital survey developed for adults, and to assess the outcomes of the club activities on social capital in youth. Results suggest that most of the survey questions were readily understood by youth and thus needed little adaptation for use with this audience. Results also demonstrated that the youth involved in the study increased their levels of civic participation, social trust, diversity of friendships, and organized group interaction.
dissertation or thesis