Week 13 Memo questions

## Week 13
1. What standard(s) of knowledge should be used to designate a development approach as a best practice? Discuss two to three standards.
2. Ohmer and Korr (2006) reviewed 269 total studies. 20 of these were quantitative studies and further only 9 with control/comparison group. What does this tell you about the nature of knowledge in community practice?
3. Assuming you are leading an agency and you have a budget to build capacity for research and evaluation among your social work staff. How would you proceed?

Week 12 Memos

## Week 12
1. Small et al make a strong case that careful study of culture can and should be a “permanent component of the poverty research agenda”. In other words, culture plays a role in explaining why people are poor. Can you recount a professional example where you observed how culture, as used by Small et al, played a role in explaining poverty?
2. Based on the first two sentences in question 1. Do you agree or disagree with Small et al that culture plays a role in explaining why people are poor? Use three points to support your position.
3. Mani et al present an altogether different reason for poverty, i.e., that economic instability reduces limited cognitive resources that leads to decisionmaking and behaviors that may reinforce poverty. Some have called this a “scarcity” argument. How do you make sense of these competing arguments – culture and scarcity? How will they inform your practice?
4. Richard Florida argues for an economic development policy based on diversity and creativity. Explain with 2-3 points why you agree or disagree with his argument. Comment specifically on how it will affect poverty.

Week 11 Memos

## Week 11
1. Pg. 324 of the Sen reading in DeFellipis states: “In so far as freedom is seen to be intrinsically important, the observation of the chosen functioning bundle cannot be in itself an adequate guide for the evaluative exercise, even though the freedom to choose a better bundle rather than a worse one can be seen to be, in some accounting, an advantage even from the perspective of freedom.” Explain in your weekly memo what this passage means to you as a social worker who is interested in reducing poverty.
2. Chaskin defines community capacity as the “interaction of human capital, organizational resourcs, and social capital existing within a given community that be leveraged to so solve collective problems and improve or maintain the well-being of a given community. It may operate through informal social processes and/or organized effort.” P. 295 Do you feel this is a useful definition? Why or why not?

Week 10 memo questions

## Week 10
1. Midgley and Livermore explain that social capital is not an “explanatory model”. Why is this important/not important for social work intervention to fight poverty?
2. Can you think of an intervention that builds social capital? Briefly explain. More importantly, do you think that social work/poverty interventions should invest more or less in interventions that purport to promote social capital. Explain with 2-3 points.
3.  How might access to higher education relate to concepts of social development and asset building?

Week 9 Memo questions

## Week 9
1. Sherraden makes a strong case that assets matter for well-being. To what extent do you see asset-based approaches to anti-poverty strategies in Quebec / Canada? If you do not see any examples, speculate why not.
2. The asset-based approach to social welfare policy is a social work contribution to poverty intervention. What are the most compelling arguments for asset policy? What concerns do you have about asset-based approaches to poverty?
3. We have spent considerable time this semester discussing different poverty measures. Describe 2-3 takeaways from my presentation on asset poverty measurement in Canada. Indicate any questions that remain.

Week 8 memo questions

## Week 8
1. Midgley advocates for the social developmental perspective. To what extent does this philosophy allign with the “activation” policies discussed in class by Plante week 6? Provide at least three key points.
2. By now each student should have decided the context of their poverty manifesto. Use this week’s memo to articulate why the social developmental perspective is useful or not useful in your chosen poverty context.
3. What are the necessary conditions for effective implementation of social developmental policies? Considerations: demographics, politics, inequality, macroeconomic factors, history, etc.

Week 7 Memo questions

## Week 7
1. Ostrom et al introduces us to the idea of common pooled resources (CPR) and how they can be managed. Much of the discussion focuses on solving the CPR problem of free riding. Further, they argue that when individuals face a public good problem are able to communicate, sanction one another, and make new rules then rational choice models no longer predict. Extrapolate what this means for understanding poverty and poverty reduction. Provide at least 3 concrete connections.
2. North defines institutions as “Humanly devised constraints that structure human interaction and that exist to reduce the ubiquitious uncertainty arising from that interaction.” (p. 10). Provide two contemporary examples of institutions that facilitate and 2 that impede development.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.