Your Prospectus requires that you write about the significance of the research—the “so what?” question. What original contribution will this study make? How will it affect professional practice or other practical application, and how can findings lead to positive social change?
Research results often have social change implications and make a difference in the world. Choosing to conduct research on an area or topic that can do so suggests that you are attempting to be the kind of researcher whose intellectual pursuits are altruistic. Note that one of the required sections of your Dissertation is the implications of your research findings for fostering positive social change. As you design your research plan, identifying implications for social change, it is critical that you examine any related ethical considerations to these social change efforts.
Majchrzak and Markus (2014) write of positive social change resulting from systemic policy research findings, in the sense that it “involves both evidence and meaning to create outcomes that help to change the world” (p. 2). In order to do this, it “requires people to take actions, observe the consequences of those actions, and then change their actions based on feedback” (pp. 2–3), or “learn by doing.” Of course, policy analysis is only one type of research in public policy and administration. Even so, Majchrzak and Markus continue, “We know that it takes passion to change the world, but it takes more than passion to make the world a better place. It takes critical thinking, evidence, meaning, and careful value judgments” (p. 9).
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish.
They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
(Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka)
The factors described by Majchrzak and Markus characterize social entrepreneurship as a means to positive social change. Social entrepreneurs maintain a vision of how to improve a given social condition, transforming systems to create lasting, systemic, and sustainable social impact. Their focus is on the social mission of creating transformative change for complex social problems, such as poverty, illiteracy, lack of affordable housing, economic disparities, human rights abuses, challenges to peace and security, and environmental destruction, to name a few.
Given this vision, they create and apply ideas, strategies, and actions to promote the worth, dignity, and development of individuals, family systems, neighborhoods, communities, organizations, institutions, cultures, and societies—locally, nationally, and globally. As a route to social innovation and social justice, social entrepreneurship is a form of leadership that maximizes the social return on efforts to change the world, while fundamentally and permanently changing the way problems are addressed on a global scale. Social entrepreneurs employ a wide variety of creative approaches and practices from diverse academic disciplines and professional sectors. These methods allow social entrepreneurs to develop and implement pattern-breaking solutions for previously intractable social problems.
Social transformation is within the reach of all communities, through citizen engagement and action, in the belief that people have the inherent capacity to own and solve their own problems, through partnership, commitment to inclusion and impact, and innovation. Social entrepreneurship may encompass social enterprise, service learning, community service, and social activism. Social innovation may emerge from these approaches, with the opportunity to provide widespread system change. Social justice work is done on many levels: Funding, direct service, education, and long-term public policy reform, typically in partnership and coalitions with other organizations.
These aspects of deliberate scientific research, conducted with integrity, together with the passion for social transformation, are expected of Walden Ph.D. students. The following commitments to social change illustrate the importance of addressing this issue in your Premise, Prospectus, Proposal, and Dissertation.
Walden University Vision, Mission, and Goals
Vision: Walden University envisions a distinctively different 21st-century learning community where knowledge is judged worthy to the degree that it can be applied by its graduates to the immediate solutions of critical societal challenges, thereby advancing the greater global good.
Mission: Walden University provides a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change (“Vision, Mission, and Goals,” 2013–2014 Walden University Catalog, March 2014).
The Walden University Commitment to Social Change: Students, alumni, faculty, and staff at Walden Univ
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Walden University was first posted on October 25, 2019 at 7:33 am.
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