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Pioneering Project Helps Researchers Get Volunteering Right

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Have you ever wondered where researchers find the statistical data that allows them to determine the long-term effects of volunteering on one's health or on one's career?  Or questioned how frequently the Independent Sector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics conduct surveys on volunteering among Americans? Or, more to the point, have you ever wondered why the research that is published about volunteering never seems to really answer the questions that most concern you as as a manager of volunteers?

The RGK Center on Philanthropy and Community Service, a Center at the University of Texas at Austin, unveils the first of its Investigator series of Fact Sheets to e-Volunteerism readers in advance of release to the general public.  Designed to encourage graduate students and others to consider research in volunteerism, the first issue in this quarterly series identifies some of the more commonly used survey instruments that collect data on the volunteering behaviors of Americans.  The Fact Sheet provides information about the type of questions asked, the frequency with which these questions are asked, and how to secure the findings from these instruments.  Developed by economist and Ph.D. student Mark Pocock, in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg, the director of the Center's volunteerism initiative, the Investigator series will address topics important to volunteerism at the University level.