George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Research in the Public Sphere

Multidisciplinary Research Serves Local Community

Our academic framework gives students the research skills they need to solve community problems.

In Honors 312, "Research in the Public Sphere," students pursue research questions that emerge from pressing challenges in the local community. Partners in the public sphere participate directly in the research process; they might visit the classroom twice over the course of the semester.

During the first visit, our partners explain their organization's challenges. Students then put their research skills to work, using campus resources to conduct an intensive, semester-long analysis of the issues from multiple perspectives.

A optional second visit lets partners monitor the team's progress and the project's direction. By semester's end, students submit a professional research report to the organization and the course's instructor.

Recent Partners and Topics

  • MVLE (Mount Vernon Lee Enterprises): How Does The Emotional Culture of a Workplace Contribute to the Workplace Experience of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?
  • Northern Virginia Mental Health FoundationWhat aspects of behavioral economics and neuroscience are behind individual giving?
  • City of Fairfax: How are local food providers addressing child hunger?
  • CAUSE (Comfort for America's Uniformed Services): Massage Therapy as Modality of Treatment for Members of the United States Military
  • Computer CORE: Recognizing the Barriers: How to Empower Muslim Women through Workforce Development in Northern Virginia
  • Van Metre Companies: How can Mason collaborate with the local community to maximize hiring potential and the social responsibility of students? 
  • Mason's SMART lab: What does the optimal gait response indicate about fatigue?
  • The Mission Continues: Why does community service, as a psychological approach to recovery, successfully help veterans combat depression and anxiety?