RSL Pathway refers to how students who have taken an RSL gateway course can continue their research service-learning experiences beyond the classroom.

Research Service Learning at Duke follows a three-stage model known as the RSL Pathway:

  • Stage 1: The Gateway Experience includes a service-learning component and introduces students to basic research skills and ethical issues. Requires students to engage in structured critical reflection and to complete a final course assignment (e.g. a policy memo) based on their service experience.
  • Stage 2: The Community Based Research Opportunity can be an internship or academic course that includes field research which students conduct in collaboration with a community partner. Also requires that students keep a research journal that addresses intellectual, ethical and civic issues.
  • Stage 3: The Capstone Course allows students to pursue an independent research project that builds on their collaboration with the community partner. Requires students to keep a research journal that addresses intellectual, ethical and civic issues.

Students who have taken an RSL gateway course have the basic preparation to design an independently funded community-based research (CBR) project in the summer, followed by a capstone project—usually an independent study course or an honors seminar and thesis project — that builds upon the summer CBR project.

We can coach you on how to create a three-stage pathway project (gateway course, CBR project, capstone project) that fits your interests and needs and give you guidance on potential funding sources for your field-based work. If you’d like to learn more, please contact the Research Service-Learning Coordinator for the Hart Leadership Program.

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