UCLA Labor Center

Research in Action

Research oftentimes drives campaigns, policy initiatives, and our collective understanding of experienced challenges. Below are research projects that were initiated by various organizations and serve to illustrate the ways in which information is organized, presented and utilized.


Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)

LAANE is an established organization that seeks to reduce poverty and improve  healthcare and the environment of the Los Angeles community. Utilizing social justice as a means to collaborate across organizations, LAANE’s research has facilitated a broader understanding of challenges experienced and explored the ways in which issues can be resolved. Below are sample research projects that have had profound impact for the Los Angeles community.

Constructing a Campaign- Fighting for a Living Wage

Madeline Janis, co-founder and national policy director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, discusses how constructing a campaign (and essentially telling your story) can change both policy and lives.

Click Here to listen-Making a Living Wage in LA 

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Poverty, Jobs and the Los Angeles Economy: An Analysis of U.S. Census Data and the Challenges Facing Our Region (2008).  This report finds that despite small gains in income in 2006, L.A.’s economy was still failing to provide adequately for millions of residents.

Examining the Evidence: The Impact of the Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance on Workers and Businesses (2005).  Written in collaboration with University of California economists, this study examines the impact of the living wage law. The study concludes that the living wage law has raised wages for 10,000 jobs while causing little job loss. It also finds that the law has not prompted businesses to set up health plans for its workers. The report’s findings are based on three original random-sample surveys of workers and firms.


Healthy City

Healthy City provides data and mapping tools to help you build a better community. The Healthy City team also partners directly with organizations to develop research strategies and web tools that fuel social change.

Click here to learn more about Healthy City. 

Information + Action-Research that Impacts

Healthy City is an information + action resource that unites community voices, rigorous research and technology to solve the root causes of social inequity. Healthy City provides the public sector with actionable information such as data and maps through their online platform.

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Click here to read-Healthy City Data in the News 

Click here to listen-Healthy City Data in the News

A Short Guide to Community Based Participatory Action Research (2011).  This guide is demonstrative of the way in which Healthy City conceptualizes the CBPAR framework and illustrative of the organization’s mission and purpose. CBPAR democratizes how research is conducted in communities and guides the research methods for Healthy City.

Community Research Toolkit (2011).  This guide is an instructional toolkit developed by Healthy City to understand and implement community research. The guide helps community researchers A Short Guide to Community Based Participatory Action Research (2011) create research questions and conceptualize, gather, and use data, with tips for analysis, visualization, and methods.


DataCenter: Research for Justice

DataCenter is a research firm that is committed to working with communities, bridging cultural, language and information gaps. Specifically, the DataCenter implements grassroots research training programs, supports community partnerships, and engages the community.

Click here to learn more about the DataCenter.

Using Community Mapping for Power

The DataCenter provides a mapping training for the community. The video demonstrates how organizations can use mapping as a tool to understand their respective power and challenges experienced.

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Click here to listen-DataCenter Data in the News.

Voces del Canal: A Campus and Community Partnership (2013).  DataCenter led a dedicated team of 13 resident leaders in training workshops so the residents could design and implement their own community survey project. Together, they conducted a total of 678 survey interviews documenting the residents’ personal stories, opinions, and visions for a healthier community.

Next Stop Justice: Race and Enviornment at the Center of Transit Planning (2012).  This report examines public transit in San Francisco from the perspective of working-class and low-income residents.  The report combines census data and 727 survey responses to better understand how prices influence transit services.


Poverty in America: The Living Wage Calculator

In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location.

Click here to learn more about the Living Wage Calculator

Click here to listen-The Living Wage Calculator

Living Wage and Job Gap Study in Beaufort County, South Carolina.  This study examines the reality of the assumption, that the working poor are earning a living wage that allows them to meet the basic needs of their families without suffering critical hardship and without dependence on government assistance, for those living and working in Beaufort County, South Carolina.