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Community development research project seeks collaborators

open book with a laptop

Associate Professor of Public Administration Margaret Stout and WVU Extension Service Associate Professor and Specialist Daniel Eades are one of the research teams in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative for a Safe and Healthy Society. In collaboration with Cornelia Flora, their Big 12 Fellowship partner at Iowa State University, the team is laying the foundations for a project on “Mapping the Social, Economic, and Environmental Determinants of Health and Well-Being.” 

The team is studying indicators commonly used to measure community capacity, including natural, cultural, human, social, organizational, political, economic and built capital. This data can be used in community assessment, program and project design, evaluation, benchmarking and collective impact studies to determine if communities are spiraling up or down.

For the next step in their preliminary research, they hope to connect with WVU faculty and practitioners across the state to learn more about which indicators they use in community development work. After that, interested individuals will meet virtually Oct. 29 to brainstorm ideas. A larger research team will be established for further action.

The expanded research team will continue collaborative work in spring 2021 to design a research project and develop grant proposals for major funding from both government and philanthropic sources. The goal is to coproduce a West Virginia “community capital knowledge commons” housed by WVU Libraries, capture open-sourced community data and share that data free of charge to support the state’s community development system most effectively.

Any WVU faculty conducting research, community engagement and/or service learning focusing on any of these forms of community capital are encouraged to reach out to Stout to get involved in this exciting and potentially transformative project at

Look for updates from the research team and the Eberly College Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative as progress continues.