Communicating Ethical Engagement Abroad: A Content Analysis of Service-Learning Study Abroad Third-Party Provider Websites


  • Hannah Vann Nabi Mercer University
  • Pam Estes Brewer Mercer University



international service-learning, third-party providers, communicating ethical engagement, content analysis


This article shares the results of a study that analyzed the website content of eight third-party providers that offer service-learning study abroad programs to college students. The study looked specifically at the information about service-learning projects and how host communities, community partners, and target populations are portrayed or represented within that content. Data are analyzed through the lens of two ethical guidelines for international service-learning defined by The Forum on Education Abroad: prioritization of human dignity and community autonomy; and recognizing the risk of paternalism, exploitation, and neocolonial behavior. The findings of this study serve to provide baseline data about the public information shared by international service-learning program providers about service projects and partners as well as insights into how organizations that produce web content about service-learning partnerships can design information that meets ethical standards related to upholding dignity, respecting autonomy, and challenging paternalism.


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Author Biographies

Hannah Vann Nabi, Mercer University

Hannah Vann Nabi is the Associate Director of Research that Reaches Out at Mercer University. Her work focuses on service-learning and the integration of undergraduate research and service.

Pam Estes Brewer, Mercer University

Dr. Pam Estes Brewer teaches Technical Communication at Mercer University.  She is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication and a member of IEEE Professional Communication Society.  She has published two books, International Virtual Teams: Engineering Global Success and a 2nd edition of A Research Primer for Technical Communication with George Hayhoe. She is incoming chair of the Department of Technical Communication.                  


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How to Cite

Vann Nabi, H., & Estes Brewer, P. (2021). Communicating Ethical Engagement Abroad: A Content Analysis of Service-Learning Study Abroad Third-Party Provider Websites. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 33(2), 17–34.



Research Articles