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Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL)

APCOL Survey

The APCOL questionnaire survey will be conducted in 2010-11 and again in 2013-14 in the same general neighbourhoods as the 8 case studies. The main purpose of this questionnaire is to gather information regarding anti-poverty issues as well how and what people learn from participating in anti-poverty campaigns and related activities.

The APCOL questionnaire asks about:

  • community involvement and anti-poverty organizing;
  • formal and informal learning in anti-poverty community organizing
  • and basic demographic information.

In each neighbourhood, purposive samples include both current and past participants in anti-poverty campaigns as well as non-participants. The survey data will be used to produce general and comparative profiles of anti-poverty organizing and related learning in these low-income neighbourhoods of Toronto.


screen shot of a sample APCOL survey question

An APCOL iPad Survey App: An Experiment in Digitizing Community-Based Surveying

by Bari Samad

This past summer the APCOL project wrapped up the second and final phase of its community/university researcher co-designed and co-administered anti-poverty activism survey. While working in some of the same low-income areas, and with the same goals as the first phase, this summer’s survey was much smaller in sampling and sought to provide additional depth. Seven community-based researchers from five different Toronto neighborhoods participated in executing the 2013-14 survey. A total of 142 surveys, including 13 pilot surveys were conducted. 

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In from the Cold: Survey Outreach in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park

Community researchers Irvin Japa and Kaleem Ishaque map out their communities while Muhammad Kaleem Ishaque, Ashleigh Dalton and Julie Chamberlain look on. Photo Courtesy of Joseph Sawan by Shabnam Meraj and Julie Chamberlain

Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park are neighbouring communities in the central-east part of Toronto in Ward 26 Don Valley West. Connected to each other by the main thoroughfare Overlea Boulevard, a walk across the bridge brings you from one to the other – a cold and windy walk in the middle of winter. Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park were paired together as one site for the APCOL survey to reflect how the neighbouring communities are interconnected. 


The intersection of Weston Road and Lawrence Ave. West  Photo Courtesy of G. de  Montmollin

Weston - Mount Dennis: A Resident’s Perspective

by Zannalyn Robest

I first heard about the APCOL research project through my involvement with the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) as a resident representative. The research was an opportunity to see how people of the area felt about issues in the neighbourhood. I was also hopeful about the possibility of the research findings serving as a quantitative document with which to organize and seek change.


Not Another Survey! Conducting the APCOL Questionnaire in KGO


Princess Water and Zannalyn Robest

by Joseph E. Sawan

On the heels of two APCOL case studies; the housing case study in Kingston Galloway – Orton Park (KGO) and the food security community leadership development case study with FoodShare the APCOL survey began with the support and direction of a team of animators and organizers who have led antipoverty campaigns in their communities.

After a year of survey committee meetings, the survey was finalized and we were ready to conduct our first interviewer training. Rather than rely solely on graduate student researchers, it was clear that our plans to incorporate the energy coming from the case studies could help organize and design a unique approach to survey research. 

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