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Missing the Point: Asking the Wrong Questions in Volunteering Research

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In this Points of View, authors Rob Jackson and Susan J. Ellis take issue with recent research on volunteering and, in a cautionary tale, argue that asking the wrong questions will ensure the wrong answers. Point by point, they review troublesome assumptions in a published research report, assumptions that include the need to always increase the number of volunteers to the need for further study on volunteer motivation. Before long, Jackson and Ellis are in full rant mode – which they readily admit. Do we need more volunteers? Stop studying volunteer motivation, please!  “Why, we ask, is it so rare for academic and governmental researchers to understand that volunteers are not interchangeable parts whose effectiveness automatically increases as their numbers do? We are over-saturated on studies on volunteer motivation.”

By the time Jackson and Ellis conclude their passionate and artfully presented rant, Points of View readers will know exactly why knowing and asking the right questions is imperative when it comes to research on volunteering.