Jennifer Petrie, Ray Jones, Audrey Murrell


The growth of service learning as an educational approach in colleges and universities has led to the use of more advanced pedagogical techniques in service learning programs.  This article describes a financial literacy service learning program that a team of undergraduate business students completed while following a participatory action research perspective in the planning, implementation and measurement of a financial literacy event for high school students. This approach fits in the literature on ethics, financial literacy and service learning and provides an illustrative example of how to incorporate this participatory action research perspective into future financial literacy service learning initiatives.


financial literacy; service learning; ethics; leadership; participatory action research

Full Text:



Bay, C., Catasús, B., & Johed, G. (2014). Situating financial literacy. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 25(1), 36–45.

Brady, B., & Dolan, P. (2009). Youth mentoring as a tool for community and civic engagement: reflections on findings of an Irish research study. Community Development, 40(4), 359-366.

Braunstein, S., & Welch, C. (2002). Financial literacy : An overview of practice, research, and policy. Federal Reserve Bulletin, November, 445–457.

Brinkmann, J. and Sims, R.R. (2001). Stakeholder sensitive business ethics teaching. Teaching Business Ethics, 5, 171-193.

Bryant, J. A., Schonemann, N., & Karpa, D. (2011). Integrating Service-Learning into the University Classroom. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Buff, C. L., & Devasagayam, R. (2016). Undergraduate research as a fate accompli: Innovation and evolution of a student conference in business. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 9(2), 59–66.

Celio, C. I., Durlak, J., & Dymnicki, A. (2011). A meta-analysis of the impact of service-learning on students. Journal of Experiential Education, 34(2), 164–181.

Council for Economic Education. (2016). The 2016 National State of Financial and Economic Education. Retrieved from

Craney, C., McKay, T., Mazzeo, A., Morris, J., Prigodich, C., & de Groot, R. (2011). Cross-discipline perceptions of the undergraduate research experience. Journal of Higher Education, 82(1), 92–113.

De Leon, N. (2014). Developing intercultural competence by participating in intensive intercultural service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall, 17–30.

DeHaven, M. J., Gimpel, N. E., Dallo, F. J., & Billmeier, T. M. (2011). Reaching the underserved through community-based participatory research and service learning. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 17(4), 363–368.

DeLaune, L. D., Rakow, J. S., & Rakow, K. C. (2010). Teaching financial literacy in a co-curricular service-learning model. Journal of Accounting Education, 28(2), 103–113.

Eyler, J. (2002). Reflection: Linking service and learning—Linking students and communities. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 517-534.

Eyler, J., & Giles Jr, D. E. (1999). Where's the Learning in Service-Learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fernandes, D., Lynch, J. G., & Netemeyer, R. G. (2014). Financial literacy, financial education, and downstream financial behaviors. Management Science, 60(8), 1861–1883.

FINRA Investor Education Foundation. (2016). Financial Capability in the United States 2016.

Gale, W.G. & Levine, R. (2010). Financial Literacy: What Works? How Could It Be More Effective? Washington, DC: Brookings Institute. Retrieved from

Giles, H. C. (2014). Risky epistemology: Connecting with others and dissonance in community-based research. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 20(2), 65-78.

Godfrey, P. C., Illes, L. M., & Berry, G. R. (2005). Creating breadth in business education through service-learning. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(3), 309–323.

Goetz, J. W., Durband, D. B., Halley, R. E., & Davis, K. (2011). A peer-based financial planning & education service program: An innovative pedagogic approach. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(4), 7.

Gray, V. B., Galvan, C., & Donlin, A. (2017). The Integration of Service-Learning Research into a Community Nutrition Course. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 45(3), 257–271.

Hagedorn, E. A., Schug, M. C., & Suiter, M. (2016). A collaborative approach to financial literacy in the Chicago public schools. The Journal of Private Enterprise, 31(1), 79–90.

Hardina, D. (2006). Strategies for citizen participation and empowerment in non-profit, community-based organizations. Community Development, 37(4), 4-17.

Hastings, J. S., Madrian, B. C., & Skimmyhorn, W. L. (2013). Financial literacy, financial education, and economic outcomes. Annual Review of Economics, 5(1), 347–373.

JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. (2017). JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Retrieved from

Kenworthy-U’Ren, A. L., & Peterson, T. O. (2005). Service-learning and management education: Introducing the “WE CARE” approach. Management Learning & Education, 4(3), 272–277.

Kliewer, B. W. (2013). Why the civic engagement movement cannot achieve democratic and justice aims. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 19(2), 72-80.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Laditka, S.B. and Hauck, M.M. (2006). Student-developed case studies: An experiential approach for teaching ethics management. Journal of Business Ethics, 64, 157-167.

Levenson, C. W. (2010). Enhancing undergraduate research in the arts and the humanities. Peer Review, 12(2), 13–15.

Lewis, T. L. (2004). Service learning for social change? Lessons from a liberal arts college. Teaching Sociology, 32(1), 94-108.

Lusardi, A., Mitchell, O. S., & Curto, V. (2010). Financial literacy among the young. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44(2), 358–380.

McDonald, G.M. and Donleavy, G.S. (1995). Objectives to the teaching of business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 10(1), 829-835.

Mandell, L., & Klein, L. S. (2009). The impact of financial literacy education on subsequent financial behavior. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(206), 15–24.

Mandell, L. (2008). The Financial Literacy of Young American Adults. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

Martin, M. C. (2015). Service learning as marketing pedagogy: Practical, theoretical, and institutional perspectives. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 19(2), 109–127.

Marullo, S., & Edwards, B. (2000). From charity to justice: The potential of university-community collaboration for social change. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(5), 895-912.

Meens, D. E. (2014). Democratic and social justice goals in service-learning evaluation: Contemporary challenges and conceptual resources. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 21(1), 41-54.

Mitchell, T. D. (2013). Critical service-learning as a philosophy for deepening community engagement. In Deepening community engagement in higher education (pp. 263-269). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Morton, K., & Bergbauer, S. (2015). A case for community: starting with relationships and prioritizing community as method in service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 22(1), 18-32.

Niehaus, E., & Crain, L. K. (2013). Act local or global?: Comparing student experiences in domestic and international service-learning programs. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 20(1), 31-40.

Pelletier, J. (2013). National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. Summer. Retrieved from

Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2016). 2016 Report on Economic and Personal Finance Education in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA.

Rama, D. V. (2011). Learning by doing: Concepts and models for service learning in accounting. Sterling: American Association for Higher Education.

Reardon, K., & Shields, T. (1997). Promoting sustainable community/university partnerships through participatory action research. National Society for Experiential Education, 23(1), 1-22.

Rosacker, K. M., Ragothaman, S., & Gillispie, M. (2009). Financial literacy of freshmen business school students. College Student Journal, 43(2), 391-400.

Sabbaghi, O., Cavanagh, G. F., & Hipskind, T. (2013). Service-learning and leadership: Evidence from teaching financial literacy. Journal of Business Ethics, 118, 127–137.

Sandy, M., & Holland, B. A. (2006). Different worlds and common ground: Community partner perspectives on campus-community partnerships. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 13(1).

Sims, R.R. (2002). Business ethics teaching for effective learning. Teaching Business Ethics, 6, 393-410.

Sims, R.R. and Sims, S.J. (1991). Increasing applied business ethics courses in business school curricula. Journal of Business Ethics, 10, 211-219.

Vogelgesang, L. J., & Astin, A. W. (2000). Comparing the effects of community service and service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 7(2), 25–34.

Willis, L. E. (2009). Evidence and Ideology in Assessing the Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Education. San Diego Law Review, 46, 415–458.

Wolfe-Hayes, M. A. (2010). Financial literacy and education: An

environmental scan. International Information and Library Review, 42(2), 105–110.

Yorio, P. L., & Ye, F. (2012). A meta-analysis on the effects of service-learning on the social, personal, and cognitive outcomes of learning. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 11(1), 9–27.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Jennifer Petrie, Ray Jones, Audrey Murrell

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.