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Applied Communication Research Findings: How to Turn Research Data into Community Action

The Metamorphosis research team has studied communities in LA for more than a decade. In our Findings section, we present some of our findings from South Los Angeles and other LA locations.

The key point of MetaConnects is to put our research findings into practice through collaborative research and by sharing ideas with community-based practitioners. Below is an example of an interesting finding from our recent research, followed by an example of how a practitioner might apply these findings in the field.

Finding: Both race and the language spoken at home are not significantly related to "integration into storytelling network". This suggests that both Latinos and African Americans have similarly equal access to communication resources in the community, regardless of their primary language. In other words, race and language do not seem to be obstacles in constructing a storytelling network, although these groups do construct different networks.

How this can be applied: Let's say that you are a health policy coordinator for a community organization in South Los Angeles who is working to build a multiethnic coalition for the 'Building Healthy Communities' ten-year campaign. Previous campaigns may have focused on outreach to African-Americans and Latinos through mainstream media sources and public state agencies. In addition, they may have assumed that people who do not speak English are difficult to connect to because they are disconnected from major community institutions.

With this information in hand, you can take a different approach. Mainstream media sources and public agencies may be one place to start, but implementing different outreach campaigns that target different ethnic storytelling networks may be a better fit for this multiethnic coalition building. 

Our research and toolkit can suggest successful strategies to build multiethnic coalition campaigns. As we mentioned, research in South L.A. suggests that neither race nor language spoken in the home influence whether or not a resident connects to the media and communication resources within the neighborhood storytelling network.  However, different ethnic groups do build different networks based on their ethnicities. The strategic planning tools in the toolkit demonstrates ways to improve outreach efforts as a way to get to the heart of the different ethnic storytelling networks.  You might connect to local residents by engaging them at local communication assets, or by getting their attention through geo-ethnic media and ethnic-based community organizations.  By targeting ethnic storytelling networks (whether African-American, Latino, Asian, etc.), you can successfully increase the participation of the community's diverse ethnic groups in the multiethnic coalition process.

Return to the findings page.