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Community Capacity and Governance – New Approaches to Development and Evaluation

by Banyai, Cindy Lyn, PhD


Page 101

2.4. Focus Groups

Focus groups are when a number of people are brought together and questions are raised for
them to discuss (Weiss, 1998, p. 260). When the group is larger and more inclusive it is then
known as a community interview and involves holding a public meeting with a more detailed
itinerary and question guide (Kumar, 1987, p. 17). Focus groups allow group dynamics and
conversations to be observed (Weiss, 1998, p. 260) and provide a forum for community dialogue.
This technique is most appropriate when:

1. ideas and hypotheses for designing an intervention or policy are needed;
2. reactions to recommended innovations need to be determined;
3. the response of the local population needs to be explained;
4. there are major implementation problems (in policy or interventions), whose nature and

implications are not clear, are to be examined and analyzed; and
5. recommendations and suggestions are needed (Kumar, 1987, p. 14).
These recommendations for the use of focus groups are mostly in response to specific
intervention or policy issues, but also relate to research when a group view on a research
proposal or question is needed or to complement the management cycle in regards to public
feedback on an evaluation. Action research inherently uses this technique because it must be
implemented through groups of local participants. In regular focus groups or in action research
the natural dynamics of the group are preserved and observed.

Focus groups are useful for stimulating interaction between participants and revealing the
nature of public discourse (Weiss, 1998, p. 260). However, focus groups can become
problematic because the groups can be dominated by a few articulate or powerful participants
(Kumar, 1987, p. 15). Focus groups were used in the participatory photo and video evaluations
and their subsequent public exhibition.

2.5. Interviews

In addition to observation, interviews are common and are an easily executed research tool.
Interviews are social encounters where speakers collaborate in producing retrospective and/or
prospective accounts of their past and/or future actions, experiences, feelings, and thoughts
(Rapley, 2007, p. 16). Narrative interviews tell an oral history (Bornat, 2007, p. 35) and were the
most commonly used type of interview in this work.

Techniques of formal and informal interviewing were also used in this work. Informal
unstructured interviews do not use a strict question guide and are often done in a conversational
setting (Weiss, 1998, p. 258). The important point of informal interviews is to listen to the
speaker as they tell their story in their own words (Weiss, 1998, p. 259), asking some questions
and prodding without bias, with little interpretation on the part of the interviewer (Rapley, 2007,
p. 22).

Open-ended questions can be used in a formal or informal interview setting to allow the
interviewee to tell their story in their own words (Weiss, 1998, pp. 166). The other form of
formal interview is survey interviewing, which typically supplies the same closed questions to
many interviewees (Weiss, 1998, p. 166).

When analyzing interviews, it is important to analyze not only the words that the speaker
used, but what happened during the interview such as the trajectory of the dialogue, and the other

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non-verbal expressions of the speaker (Rapley, 2007, p. 16; Weiss, 1998, p. 259). The analysis
of the content of the interviews will depend on your research interests (Rapley, 2007, p. 27).

Noting how informants are chosen is important to the understanding of the outcomes of the
research (Rapley, 2007, p. 17). For the most part, in this research, opportunistic and snowballing
sampling methods were used (Weiss, 1998, p. 254). Interviewees were selected when they
became available and then they in turn introduced new potential interviewees.

A view adopted in this research is that a small number of well-informed informants make for
a better sample than a larger sample of minimally involved informants (Harper, 2001, p. 27).
This is especially true when key informants are selected carefully to reflect diverse viewpoints
and concerns (Kumar, 1987, p. 5). This view supports both informal, unstructured interviews
and in-depth interviews with a few key informants. Taking this approach is not without caveat.
Relying on a few key informants could lead to biased information if they are not selected
carefully, and have a tendency to have an elitist orientation (Kumar, 1987, p. 9). This limitation
is noted and accepted as a part of this work.

2.6. Surveys

As noted in the last sub-section, survey questioning is a type of formal interview. For this
work, a large survey was not necessary; therefore an informal survey method was chosen and
implemented in the Pagudpud case. An informal survey focuses on only a few variables, uses a
small sample size and non-probability sampling, and permits more flexibility to the interviewers
(Kumar, 1987, pp. 2-3). Although it is small in size and limited in focus, informal surveys do
generate data that can be statistically analyzed (Kumar, 1987, pp. 2-3).

Data from informal surveys with open-ended questions can be statistically analyzed as long
as they are appropriately coded and then categorized (Weiss, 1998, p. 168; see also
Razafindrakoto & Roubaud, 2002, p. 130). Incorporating qualitative, open-ended questions into
an informal survey enables respondents to a) tell their story in their own words; b) encourages
freedom and spontaneity in answering; c) allows respondents to use their own language and
concepts, and to qualify and elaborate when they feel it necessary; and d) opens the opportunity
for unanticipated findings (Kumar, 1990, p. 11).

Informal or mini surveys are most appropriate when:

1. quantitative information is needed about a relatively homogenous
population;

2. it is difficult to construct a probability sample without considerable
investment of time and resources

3. ;
4. some qualitative information is already available, but additional
data are required to complement it; and

5. quantitative data about the attitudes, beliefs, and responses of target
populations are required immediately (Kumar, 1987, p. 26).

Considering the financial and time constraints on this work, informal survey methodology
seemed to be an appropriate way to gain a broad understanding of the situation in the field work
community, as well as to provide some basic quantitative date to support the largely qualitative
study.

There are some limitations to choosing informal survey as a research technique. Informal
surveys are a) not appropriate to collect in-depth information; b) susceptible to sampling bias; c)

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not able to provide complex statistical analyses; d) not as generalizeable as large surveys; and e)
vulnerable to credibility problems (Kumar, 1987, p. 27; Kumar 1990, p. 6). Furthermore, when
informal surveys use open-ended questions there can be coding issues and interviewers are more
inclined to edit questions and answers (Kumar, 1990, pp. 11-12). These limitations are
recognized and are supplemented through the use of observation, in-depth interviews, and action
research.

3. Chapter Summary

This brief chapter discussed the various paradigms, approaches, and techniques that were
employed for this work. The major paradigms that are being ascribed to here are postmodernism,
post-positivism, and contextualism because they are the most appropriate for
studying about community capacity and governance, particularly when participatory
methodologies are being used. Reflexive research, adaptive research, ethnography, qualitative
research, and action research are also outlined here as major approaches that were taken for this
research.

After reviewing the epistemology guiding this work, the various data gathering techniques
were described. Methodologies for case studies, observation, photography, focus groups,
interviews, and surveys were outlined, as well as the most appropriate circumstances in which
they should be used.

The last portion of this chapter overview will detail the approaches, methods, and techniques
that rendered the data for the various sections of this work, such as: the rural case studies from
Japan, the case study on developing evaluations systems, and the case studies from the
Philippines.

Chapter Five contains data from several case studies across rural Japan (Imori-dani, Ajimu,
Yufuin, Bungotakada, and Himeshima). Each of these cases was purposefully selected because
they uniquely described a characteristic of community capacity or outlined an interesting
evolution of leadership and can be further described as paradigmatic cases. The data gathered
from each of the case locations came primarily from presentations or documents written by key
informants from each of the case study locations. Additionally, I visited each of the locations for
observation and interviews approximately three times a year between 2007 and 2009. The visits
came as a part of my work as a lecturer and facilitator for Japan International Cooperation
Agency (JICA) trainings for administrative capacity building. These case studies are limited by
the fact that they are intended to be exploratory and descriptive in nature, rather than
comparative and critical.

Chapter Six uses data gathered from participants of the JICA Forum for the
Institutionalization of Evaluation System (ibid) (2007-2008), participants from the JICA-Nepal
Strengthening of Monitoring and Evaluation Systems (SMES) Project (2008), and the Localized
Monitoring System on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Project in Jagna, Philippines.
All of the case studies presented in Chapter Six were a result of opportunistic sampling, because
of my involvement and exposure to them, and informational paradigmatic sampling because they
describe the concepts that are trying to be expanded, localization and evaluation systems.

Information regarding the JICA-Nepal SEMS project came from the reports of the
participants who attended the 2008 training of trainers in Tokyo, as well as unstructured
interviews and observations that were made possible through my involvement with the project as
a facilitator. Additionally, the JICA coordinator of the project provided me with some

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documentation on the structure and progress of the project via unstructured interview, email, and
primary JICA documents.

The data on the current evaluation systems and the issues with evaluation in developing
countries came from the reports of the Forum for the Institutionalization of Evaluation System
(ibid) participants in 2007 and 2008, as well as from my unstructured interviews and
observations of the participants from 2008 where I was a facilitator of the training.

The Localized Monitoring System on the MDGs Project in Jagna, Philippines was not a
project that I was personally affiliated with. However, as a part of my exploratory research in
the Philippines I visited Jagna and had the opportunity to observe the situation in the
municipality, as well as interview the mayor and his wife, both of whom were intricately
involved in the project. Further information about the Jagna MDG localization project came
from a report compiled upon the completion of project by the European Union (EU).

The cases from Chapter Six incur the same limitation as those used in Chapter Five. They
are intended to be illustrative and not critical. The cases were selected to demonstrate areas of
concerns and lend support to the expansion of concepts of localization and evaluation.

The first exploratory field trip to the Philippines was conducted from August 12 to August
31, 2007. This trip gave me a feel for the situation in the Philippines, allowed me to acquaint
myself with the surroundings and culture in the Philippines, as well as meet with local contacts
and explore potential case study locations. Preliminary contact had been made with some local
mayors whom I met through the One Village One Produce (OVOP) JICA training at
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in October 2006, where I was a facilitator. Areas that were
visited on the exploratory field trip were the municipality of Pagudpud in the province of Ilocos
Norte in North Luzon (contact – Hon. Marlon Ferdinand T. Sales), Jagna in the Province of
Bohol in the Visayas (contact – Hon. Exuperio C. Lloren), the municipality of Amlan in the
province of Oriental Negros (contact – Hon. Bentham P. De La Cruz) and the municipality of
San Jose in Romblon Province in the Visayas (contact – Hon. Violeta P. Tandong). The
outcomes of this trip yielded more local contacts and a viable case study location, as well as
other potential local research partners.

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte was selected as the site for field work because it can be described as
a typical case of a developing community in the Philippines, and also because of its relative
stability. This case can be considered paradigmatic as well because it helps to extend the
applicability of the concept of community capacity and allowed for the exploration of
governance in developing countries.

Through the mayor’s cooperation, I was allowed access to any place within the community
and introduced to several key informants, which made him a gatekeeper. He greatly assisted
with my initial observations and data collection, allowing me access to people and places I would
not have privy to had I been completely on my own.

The execution of the case study to analyze community capacity in Pagudpud was conducted
in February – March 2008. Informal interviews, both structured and unstructured, with local
people and organizations were made. I attended a major local event, the town fiesta, as well. An
interview question guide was made to guide unstructured interviews and the Chaskin Framework
was used to craft in-depth interviews (IDIs) and an informal survey. The structure of the
informal survey, called the Focal Point Questionnaire (FPQ), is detailed in Chapter Seven. The
synopsis of the IDIs can also be found in Chapter Seven. The specific results of the FPQ and the
IDIs can be found in the Appendix.

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A final field trip to Pagudpud was conducted in September 2008. During this trip, all
findings from the first leg of the case study were reviewed and discussed with local informants.
As with the previous trips to Pagudpud, unstructured interviews and observations were made.
Additionally, two focus groups were formed to work on action research projects, one using video
and another using photography. These sub-cases can be described as maximum variation cases
because they were chosen as trial cases to develop the participatory evaluation methodology on
the basis of their group composition. The video group was selected by the mayor and consisted
of local leaders, whereas the photo group was comprised of students from an outlying area of the
municipality. Additionally, it should be noted that mini-survey techniques were used to gather
feedback on the photo and video projects. The surveys were qualitative, with open-ended
questions and were anonymously answered in writing by participants in the various phases of the
project. More detail about the photo and video projects are offered in Chapter Eight and the
survey questions and results can be found in the Appendix.

There are several limitations in the Pagudpud case that need to be acknowledged. First, my
personal connection with Mayor M. Sales can be seen as a benefit to my research because he was
a ‘gatekeeper’ and granted me access to many people and places around the community, as well
as a detriment because I was then subsequently limited to viewing things through his filter (see
Pavey et al., 2007, p. 108). I attempted to mitigate this limitation by choosing informants outside
of his circle and conducting the action research project with a group assembled on my own (the
photo group). Additionally, the survey helped to provide some perspective on the views I
obtained from the mayor because there was a broader and more random sampling of respondents.

The remaining limitations have to do with me as a researcher. I cannot speak either Tagalog
or the local language of Pagudpud, Ilocano, which limited my ability to communicate with all
demographics within the community, often forcing me to rely on a translator. That being said, it
should be noted that most people in the community had a rudimentary grasp of English as a
result of the education system in the Philippines; however poor farmers and fishermen were often
reluctant to exercise their often poor English skills as a matter of pride. Interviews were
conducted largely in English or by a local research partner who conducted the interview or
survey in Ilocano and translated it for me. Every attempt was made to preserve the quality of the
information through the translation process.

In addition to my lack of language ability, I was always viewed as an outsider in the
community, even though I eventually gained a level of comfort with many local people in the
community. However, my status as an outsider may have caused some of the informants to
censure themselves, thus skewing the information, usually so that I would view them more
favorably. To counterbalance this, several trips were made to the case location to build
relationships with key informants and to allow the community at large to become acquainted
with me. The outsider factor was also taken into consideration in the interviews and survey,
which is why I coordinated with local research partners to have them conduct the survey and
some interviews.

This chapter on methodology provides a paradigmatic starting point for the following data
chapters, as well as a general understanding of how the data was gathered and why such
techniques were used. Chapter Five is the first of the data chapters and uses the cases of rural
development from Japan to expand upon the concept of community, community capacity, and
community leadership.

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5. Conceptual Development

This chapter further develops the foundation concepts found in Chapter Two to make a
unique contribution to academia and for practical use. Currently, both community and
community capacity are weakly constructed concepts that draw much skepticism and
criticism (Craig, 2009). An expansion of these concepts is offered here to solidify
their importance in terms of development theory and practice. For concept formulation and
theory development, it can be noted that “conceptual ideas need empirical testing, but also that
experiences in real-life governing and the examination of them go hand in hand (Kooiman, 2003,
p. 6).” Strong concepts are needed to build theories; however, concepts are relevant for
practitioners due to the multivariate reality of life. Furthermore, concepts facilitate the
development of analytical frameworks for community development.

This chapter addresses the following questions:
1. How is a community defined and how can it be understood practically?
2. What are the conceptual components of community capacity and how can they be further

developed?
3. What are some effective strategies for community capacity building?
4. How can community capacity be identified in context?
5. In what ways can the Chaskin Framework be refined to better fit the situation in

developing communities?
6. How do community capacity attributes contribute to the cycle of community capacity?
7. How do community agents and their leadership contribute to the development of

community capacity?
8. What approach to economic development should be taken at the community level?
This chapter first discusses the definition of community and how it can be conceptualized as
a system, is a suitable unit for analysis, and on a grander scale.

The next section of this chapter looks at community capacity, providing a revision of the
concept of community capacity outlined in Chapter Two. The revised community capacity
framework instills a proactive approach and offers a visual model of community capacity that
can be used for analysis. The main components of community capacity are then described in
detail to reinforce their importance to development. Successful rural development case studies
from Japan are used to explain the attributes and agents of community capacity, leading to the
realization that community capacity is cyclical.

After elaborating on the concept of community capacity, the role of community agents is
discussed. Through analysis of the Japanese island community of Himeshima, the evolution of
leadership is examined and the concept of community leadership emerges.

The approach that should be taken in community economic development is the last topic
discussed in this chapter. Community-driven economics is presented as a departure from macrofocused
economic development, instead looking at the important factors to promote sustainable
livelihoods in the community. This section is a theoretical discussion and proposes an approach
to development that is consistent with the other concepts presented in this chapter. This section
is then followed by a chapter summary.

1. Community

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Communities are where we all live, and they are not just resigned to our neighborhoods. A
community includes both a geographic concept and a social concept (Figueira-McDonough,
2001, p. 11; NDI, 2009, p. 11; Miller, 1992, p. 25; Pavey et al., 2007; Yogo, 2000, p. 25). With
that in mind, community is defined as a physically conceivable area, such as an administrative
unit, and all of the relevant stakeholders in that area including, but not limited to residents, local
administration, institutions, private enterprises with interests or activities in the area, and the civil
society organizations with membership or activities within the area (based on Bowman 1932, p.
926; McMillan & George, 1986, p. 8; Morita, 2009). It should be noted that a community itself
must be defined specifically by that community. Without such identification the collective
function of the community is limited, as can often be seen in more urban communities.

Figure 9 displays the stakeholders of a community

as a constellation within a community, coming together to define a community, as well as to facilitate and
conduct the activities within it.

Community membership is not exclusive, and one stakeholder could be a member of multiple
communities. This means that even the fisherman in a small coastal town is a valuable member
of the international community worthy of consideration and able to make a contribution. There
is a necessary relationship between the stakeholders of a community and the actors within them
may overlap. There are competing and complementary needs, desires, and perceptions among
the stakeholders in a community. The depth and strength of the relationship between the
stakeholders, as well as the sentiments of the community, need to be articulated and addressed in
order to improve the overall function of the community.

We need to start looking at the whole world, all of humanity and its various organizations
and activities, as one global community. A question was posed about the consistency of
ideology between strong and well-defined local communities and globalization. It’s not as if
strong small communities are a problem per se, it’s a matter of inclusion. Do these small
communities see themselves as part of a greater whole? Or do they increasingly see themselves
as fortresses of ideals separate from the chaos and immorality around them?

Sadly, the trend is to the latter; which will inevitably lead to a collapse of our fledgling global
system and an increase in human strife. In his recent book (2008), The Big Sort, Bill Bishop,

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discusses how people in the US, over the past 30 years, are increasingly moving into
communities that reflect their political persuasions and comforts in life. Bishop attributes this in
part to choice, noting that given the choice, people choose to go to places that reinforce their own
values (Bishop, 2008; see also Bauman, 2001). This trend can also be seen throughout the world
with the rise of nationalism and protectionism, from American flag-waving, to Chinese anti-
Japanese protests, to the hesitation in EU expansion. These trends demonstrate the existing and
growing desire of people to fortify the boundaries of their community in relation to outsiders and
deviants. It highlights one of the surreptitious factors in communities and community building;
however, it does not necessarily diminish the value or importance of community.

With this definition of community, more than just a small neighborhood could be considered
a community. One of the impetuses behind this work is to lay the foundation for the formulation
of the concept of an international community. The key differentiating factor between a small
community and a larger (i.e. national or international) community is the conceptualization of the
meaning of community. If individual people can see the relationship between themselves, their
government, people in other countries, and the UN, for instance, then the concept of an
international community can take shape. This is one of the future visions of this work, to begin
to fortify the concept of community at the smaller levels, so that people can better understand the
relationships that are involved in building an international community.

The argument is a matter of inclusion and community building on a global scale. Traditional
views of the world as a competitive power structure serve to reinforce the necessity for the trend
of protecting interests through secular communities. In this respect, game theory is alive and
well, only we keep selling one another out. How can we build a mutually beneficial international
structure? How can the interests and perspectives of small communities become a vital
component to globalization?

The first step in reconciling this

and reversing the dangerous trend of fracturing societies is to begin to conceptualize the entire world as a
global community. Not only do we need to envision the global community, we need to fortify the relationships
and communication structure between various levels of community. In essence, there is a need to recognize
the nesting nature of the global community and the integral importance and responsibility of all stakeholders

at each level down to the local community. There needs to be a conceptualization and implementation of
disaggregated, yet interconnected international governance (Behera, 2007, p. 29; Cling, 2002, p. 35; High &

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Nemes, 2007, p. 105; Olowu, 1989, p. 222; Pierre & Peters, 2000, p. 84; Sachs, 2005, p. 242; Voisey &
O’Riordan, 2001, p. 35).

Figure 10 is the Community Concept Model, which depicts the nesting nature of community and the
localization of policy and activities (concentric circles are also a good way to depict the relationship between

local and higher levels of community) that are necessary for successful communities at any level and the
fortification of ties between communities. Examples of a local community could include a small coastal
barangay of Balaoi in the Municipality of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Subsequently, each level of
that description could also be considered a community, i.e. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. In turn, all

of those communities would contribute to the formulation of the Southeast Asian community (regional
community), as well as the international community.

Without recognition of all stakeholders there is no respect or consideration for their well
being. It has been the trend in global politics and corporate practice to ignore those stakeholders
without the power or the will to adequately voice their concerns. Sometimes liberties are taken
in terms of resources or rights and then justified in terms of some collective plan, security or for
simple economic gain. However, it seems as though actions in which some stakeholders are
disempowered and some gain is repeated over and over again at every level. One of the only
recourses against those who gain illegitimately and those who are disempowered is a huge
backlash (terrorism) or the powerful entity itself being consumed by its own greed (Enron or
modern America) to regain balance and wait for another to usurp the balance again. The only
way to stop this cycle and devastation and depravity is to begin to respect one another as
important stakeholders in a global community.

The concept of the international community is still in its nascent form, while the most typical
use of community is to refer to a small locality, such as a rural town or a neighborhood in an
urban setting. From a development planning perspective, the community is where the action
happens in a policy structure. For however grand a policy may be portrayed, the activities, e.g.
the production, the sales and purchasing, the construction, and the skills training, as well as the
interpersonal communication that result in further actions, are conducted within a localized
community. A community is a unit suitable for discussion, analysis, as well as policy making
and management (Behera, 2007; Fults, 1993; Gariba, 1998; Robinson, 1997; Sastry &
Srinivasan, 2007; Voisey & O’Riordan, 2001).

Not only is the community a suitable unit for analysis and policy making, it is actually
becoming more important in the era of globalization (Svedin, O'Rirodan, & Jordan, 2001, p. 59).
While this may seem a paradox at first, after further examination it can be seen that global
markets and governance structures are increasingly interacting with local markets, producers and
administrators (Miller, 1992, p. 23). Thus forcing communities to have the wherewithal to deal
with their international counterparts yet still maintain their local interests.

In addition to defining community, conceptualizing community is also important so that
other concepts, such as community capacity, can be elaborated, analyzed and for plans to be
developed. Along this line, a community can be conceptualized as a complex adaptive network
of systems that can act in concert with one another (Bogenschneider, 1996, p. 131; Figueira-
McDonough, 2001, p. 3; Kime, 2001, p. 9; Kirk & Shutte, 2004, p. 235). Furthermore, a
community can be construed as a single system because it is an organizing unit around other
systems, such as the local economic system and the local governance system, as well as local
organizations and institutions, which are also systems in their own right.

Organizations are complex adaptive systems that are dynamic and fluid, which causes the
organization to be in a constant state of flux to cope with the internal and external changes
caused by the struggle between various constraints. A community must work with and adapt to

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various stakeholders, both internal and external, in order to address the ever-changing needs and
conditions that are present within their area, acting as a complex adaptive system in the same
way in which an organization does.

2. Community Capacity

For business and trade purposes, governing and diplomacy, and to improve the quality of life
of all stakeholders at all levels of community, it is necessary for each level of community to have
community capacity, as well as firm avenues for the exchange of activities and information
between them. Understanding community capacity and the functions and importance of a
community is also necessary when considering how to approach development, globalization, and
improving the human condition. Gaining a better understanding of our lives, particularly our
lives in relationship to, within, and in between our communities will further facilitate
development approaches and theories, ease tensions between communities (nations, regions, and
businesses alike), and facilitate economic expansion.

Capacity development strategies that seek to harness, manipulate, and build community
capacity for the improvement of living standards and to facilitate participatory governance find
their base in the concept of social capital. The concept of community capacity has much to offer
in this regard because it combines aspects of social capital with other indicators to render a
complete picture of the nature and functions of a community to provide a mode through which
social capital can be analyzed and strengthened in practice. Community capacity is “the
interaction of human capital, organizational resources, and social capital existing within a given
community that can be leveraged to solve collective problems and improve or maintain the wellbeing
of that community (Chaskin et al., 2001, p.7).” Through identifying the characteristics of
community capacity and devising strategies to enhance them, communities can better reach their
potential, leaders and residents can be better informed about their community, and ownership of
the community situation can emerge to facilitate further development (Chaskin et al., 2001, p 1).

The definition if community capacity is the ability of a community to produce outcomes
through its actors by utilizing the resources (human, social, physical, organizational, and
financial) at its disposal (based on Chaskin et al., 2001; Miyoshi & Stenning, 2008).

2.1. The A-A-A Framework

The basic concept of community capacity has just been outlined; however, there is still need
for research so that the concept of community capacity can be better identified and utilized for
development and poverty alleviation (Chaskin et al., 2001, p. 2; see also Gorgan, 1981, p. 652).
In response to this need, a practical framework for community capacity that can be used for
evaluation is being developed through this work. The Attributes-Agents-Actions (A-A-A) cycle
of community capacity is offered herein as a conceptual framework to correspond to the basic
outline of community capacity as presented by Robert J. Chaskin, Prudence Brown, Sudhir
Venkatesh, and Avis Vidal in the 2001 book Building Community Capacity. This work is unique
in that it presents a framework for identifying community capacity and seeks to demonstrate the
necessity of social capital for building strong communities, as well as offering some strategic
directions to help enhance community capacity.

According to Chaskin and colleagues, by utilizing community capacity, social agents within
the community facilitate change and action in community functions (Chaskin et al., 2001, p. 11).

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