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In this essay, a new approach to doing research in schools and other community settings is described: service-bonded inquiry. This approach allows researchers to expand the boundaries of scholarly inquiry through the integration of service and scholarship. It is not an attempt to replace traditional forms of research; rather, it serves to complement the way researchers have historically conducted research. Service-bonded inquiry is the proverbial bridge between what Hal Lawson (1990) calls information gathering and useful information. The discussion here focuses on describing important assumptions underlying service-bonded inquiry and arguing that personal values and commitment must be assessed before engaging in this type of research. In addition, guideposts for evaluating and doing service-bonded inquiry are provided.
Tom Martinek is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412. Don Hellison is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 901 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL 60608.