Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


The historic events of the Flint Water Crisis (FWC) have led to a variety of intertwined mental and physical health, developmental and sociological outcomes in Flint, MI. Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development provides a suitable model for considering the full complexity of these factors. This model allows researchers to conceptualize within complex systems the nuanced sites and relationships in which development occurs. However, designing research based on this model is widely considered to be excessively challenging. This thesis outlines the process of designing Bioecological research in Flint, MI and presents examples from a pilot study which suggest that a process of ‘getting to know’ participants may be key in overcoming some of the challenges of bioecological research design.