An Open-Access Textbook for Students, Teachers, Community-Based Organizations, Researchers, and Others

Photograph of book cover
Figure 1: Used with permission from the editors.

Submitted by: Geri Palmer, Todd Rogers, Judah Viola & Maronica Engel, e-Textbook Editors


A free e-Textbook providing examples of Community Psychology practice.
Case studies highlight transformational work happening in communities globally.
Students say, “The book is helpful in moving theory to practice.”

Case studies help bridge the gap between theory and practice. This is central when teaching an applied discipline. Case study teaching is a perfect fit with Community Psychology because many practitioners work in and with communities all over the world!

We (the editors) have edited an e-Textbook to highlight practice in Community Psychology, contextualizing theories such as empowerment, sense of community, and second-order change.

“As Community Psychology practitioners our work is often focused on dismantling structural systems of inequality and oppression. Historically, a good deal of this important community-engaged work may not have found its way into other textbooks or academic journals. This book offers an opportunity to highlight the stories of colleagues doing valuable work and learn through reading their narratives and lived experiences.”

Unlike traditional textbooks that primarily contain excerpts of community-based work, this is the first textbook dedicated to portraying comprehensive case studies that connect community psychology theories to real-life. We amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) while also advancing equity in the academic book publishing industry.

How Did A Community Psychology Perspective Inform Your Work?

Community Psychology was born out of psychological practice within the community. Community Psychologists who teach often step outside of their classrooms and spend time in a geographic or emotional community–engaging in transformative work. Case stories are one of the best tools to move theory to practice. They provide detailed qualitative information, while also giving the reader insights into the subjective dimension of human behavior, particularly within their respective settings. Importantly, the reader also gets to see the impact those settings have on the individual.

The e-Textbook captures eleven case stories authored by community psychology practitioners. and those working in hybrid settings (e.g., academia and practice). Several of the case studies include participatory action research (PAR). PAR is a core research technique in Community Psychology, and is used to inform, design and implement empowering processes, interventions, or prevention strategies.

Eleven case studies were chosen to submit full manuscripts of which all were peer-reviewed. Students are the primary audience for the textbook. The textbook may also be useful for teachers, practitioners, and others. The book is already being piloted in classrooms in the Midwestern U.S. Early student feedback has been positive.

Community psychology practitioners are working in dynamic communities all over the world! Social and racial justice activism, advocacy, and community/liberation psychological work are common threads throughout the case stories.

What Does This Mean For?

Research and Evaluation: This book exemplifies a core value of Community Psychologists; research findings inform action. The case stories show how an ecological lens is used in community research—and how research informs interventions and preventions.

Social Action: Several of the case stories illustrate social action through fostering community resiliency. Community members act on their own behalf thereby pushing forward change.

Teachers and Students: This e-Textbook is the first of its kind—solely dedicated to Community Psychology practice. The e-Textbook is free for students and other readers, and over 50% of the authors identify as BIPOC. We believe this work is a model for both academics and practitioners—and can be used “as is” or built on for future work.

Original Citation: Palmer, G.L., Rogers, T., Viola, J., & Engel, M. (Eds.) (2021). Case studies in community psychology practice: A global lens. Rebus Pressbooks.

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