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Danielle Kohfeldt, PhD

Accepting Applicants: 
Ongoing Projects: 

My research program focuses on formal and informal learning environments (broadly defined) and how these environments facilitate or hinder individual and collective empowerment and human thriving. I take an ecological approach that considers the structural, cultural, political, and institutional contexts of empowerment. In addition to examining how settings shape beliefs and behavior, I investigate how people alter settings to make them more conducive to human thriving. Most of my research is developed in collaboration with community groups and organizations. I am particularly interested in arts-based research methods and the role of the arts in fostering community development, identity, and empowerment. I have several research projects - both ongoing and in the early stages of development - in which students may participate:


1. Children's Empowerment Project was an after-school participatory action research program that engaged 4th/5th grade Latino children in efforts to improve their school community (data collection ended; data analysis ongoing). 


2. The Justice Activism Project is a research and action project designed to understand how community members progress into justice leaders, activists, and organizers. A core question is what propels individuals to take action against perceived injustices? (data collection in process). 


3. The Long Beach Community Art Asset Mapping Project systematically documents public art in the city of Long Beach (early stages of development).


4. Several other projects (e.g., program evaluation) are evolving in collaboration with local organizations. 


Students will develop experience in community-based and participatory approaches to research, qualitative research methodologies (e.g., ethnography, case study, grounded theory, PhotoVoice, participatory action research), and various data management and analysis software (e.g., NVivo, Mind Jet). Students may be involved in any or all of the following, depending on the stage of a given project: 

Developing relationships with community partners, interacting with research collaborators/participants, attending community organizing events and trainings, transcription, data collection (e.g., community mapping, observational field notes, participant interviews), data analysis, website development/management, conducting literature reviews, creating annotated bibliographies, preparation and revision of both practical and scientific products including reports, media articles, conference presentations, and peer-reviewed journal publications.



Office: PSY 417