Social Investigaion: The Importance of Knowing Your Audience

I heard through the grapevine (aka facebook status updates) that El Camino will be the new outreach site for PTSP next year. This is great news and I am happy that the organization's work is progressing. Congratulations to all those who made it happen!!

With that said, I want to stress the importance of knowing the population you serve. Though we our exposed to great diversity at UCLA, the community college takes diversity to a whole 'nother level. Remember, the majority of CC students do not have the mentality of a typical university student or university bound student. Many of them were students who did not do so well in high school. Many are not sure of what they want to do. Then you have elder students who are returning to school and may not take so well to younger students trying to help them out. These students have a different mentality and may not be very receptive to certain practices or ideas.

Knowing the needs of the population you are serving is crucial. You can't just go some place, set up shop, and expect things to go smoothly. Remember that the methodologies we are trying to share with others are very unfamiliar to them. There is an idealism that comes with being student leaders/activist which sometimes causes one to assume that everyone will take heed to the knowledge you are trying to share. Sometimes we take for granted the fact that the people we are serving have not been exposed to the knowledge we have. Know the people you are trying to reach, do your best to put your self in their shoes, relate to them and know their situations before trying to share your knowledge with them.

1 comment:

Brian J. Delas Armas said...

Hmm...I don't know, I think they still know stuff that we don't know. It's a mutual conversation I think. It's not just us trying to uncover the mysteries of the system and what they do, but also them uncovering the mysteries about us.