Youth Action Research

Instructor Name: 
Lisa Bates
Course Description: 

This Capstone provides an opportunity for students seeking to advance their skills in community development, youth organizing, and urban sustainability practices through developing authentic relationships and a meaningful project with our community partners at the Multnomah Youth Commission.


PSU students will work in partnership with the Multnomah Youth Commission’s Sustainability Committee in a project of participatory action research and policy advocacy. The MYC engages young people aged 13 to 21 in leadership development and policy advocacy. The MYC Sustainability committee is focusing on Transit Justice. As the youth wrote last year, "Public transit is a lifeline of opportunity that benefits people of all ages, especially youth. To us, access to transit means young people can become mobile and independent. We use transit to get to school, to work, to do community service and do extra-curricular activities, to get to recreation, and to socialize with our family and friends. These are all important to our development as young adults." The Transit Justice focus includes fighting to maintain and expand a free YouthPass for high school students riding TriMet, advocating for better bus service in East Portland and Gresham, and addressing young people's safety concerns about riding bus and Max.


The MYC do their policy advocacy by producing research on youth experiences and sharing it with other youth for their feedback and to develop their policy demands. In the capstone, we support youth in this work.  The capstone introduces the concept of Participatory Action Research, which is a practice that centers community questions and knowledge as part of developing a social change agenda. The capstone will support the MYC's work by collaborating on outreach, data collection, and research reporting through creative means. 

For an example of youth PAR, please check out this short video from a similar project in New York City!

PSU students will have the opportunity to learn and experience leadership development, participatory methods of research and policy development, organizing and advocacy, and importantly, to have fun collaborating with a diverse and creative group of young people in our area!

Project Description: 

Check out the Links to Project for a short video created by capstone students last year and an Op-Ed written by a youth commissioner!