August 15, 2016 Huffington Post
In Spring 2016, GPD trainees and sociology graduates Diana Graizbord and Jamie McPike were looking for ways to contribute to the Watson Institute's mission. Drawing on their international experience in making qualitative research speak to policy reform efforts in Mexico and India, they designed a new senior seminar in applied public policy entitled Engaged Research/Engaged Publics: The Science and Craft of Applied Policy Research. With support from the Engaged Scholars Program, and in close partnership with Providence Mayor Elorza's Chief of Staff, then the City's Innovation Officer, Nicole Pollock ('08), the course provided undergraduates with training in research methods and insights into the day-to-day work of municipal government. Students took on the question of understanding the linguistic, bureaucratic, cultural and financial obstacles facing small business owners in Providence. At the end of the semester, they presented their findings and recommendations to Nicole Pollock and her colleagues, providing a data-set as well as the lived stories of over 50 individual entrepreneurs in Providence. They recently published an account of key lessons from the class on the Huffington Post.