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The Dynamics of Social Indicator Research for California’s Central Valley in Transition


How can social indicator research improve understanding of community health as well as inform stakeholders about the assets disadvantaged communities have for coping with disparities? This paper describes the development and evolution of the Partnership for Assessment of Communities (PAC) and its best practices for social indicator research. The PAC will be of interest to researchers across multiple disciplines for a number of reasons. First, PAC is a working model of best practices for multidisciplinary scholarly inquiry. Second, it has developed an integrated model of quantitative and qualitative methodology to define and measure community health as compared to traditional quality-of-life indicators. Third, it serves as an example of “action research,” in that the findings have the potential to make an impact on community stakeholders and policy outcomes in the greater Central San Joaquin Valley of California, a region characterized by deep social and economic disparities.

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