Dr. Giovanni P. Dazzo is an interdisciplinary researcher and evaluator who integrates theories and methodological practices from anthropology, community psychology, restorative justice and conflict transformation, and education. As a methodologist, he employs critical forms of participatory action research, ethnography, narrative and visual inquiries, and program evaluation. Prior to joining the Mary Frances Early College of Education, he led the research and evaluation unit at the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, where he conducted internal studies; developed research/evaluation methods curricula and trained staff, nonprofit grantees, and human rights activists; and designed and managed research grants and evaluation contracts conducted by academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms.

As a first-generation college student raised in rural Central California by immigrant parents, he is familiar with the ways in which college, graduate school, and a career can seem like unobtainable goals. For these reasons, Dr. Dazzo believes that universities should be welcoming environments for all, inside and outside the classroom. He is interested in service opportunities, having previously served on the Board of the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) local affiliate in Washington, D.C. , where he launched a mentorship program and pro bono evaluation initiative, which have been replicated by other affiliates.

Dr. Dazzo is open to community partnerships and new Ph.D. students. If you are interested in exploring how communities can be involved in the research process (community-engaged research, participatory action research), or understanding how evidence can be used to influence social good, please feel free to email. Additional information about Dr. Dazzo’s research interests can be found on this page.

Areas of Expertise

  • Participatory Action Research
  • Program Evaluation
  • Narrative Inquiry
  • Ethnography
  • Critical theories and methodologies


  • Restorative forms of inquiry / Research that heals
  • Intersection of validity and ethics
  • Equitable access and participation in research
  • Community-informed policymaking
  • Infusing critical theories in methodological training



  •  Doctor of Philosophy in Research Methodology
    George Mason University
  •  Master in Public Management
    Bocconi University
  •  Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Political Science
    University of California, Los Angeles


Office Hours

  • By appointment

Research Summary

As a methodologist, Dr. Dazzo is committed to a research agenda focused on critical approaches to research, methodology, and policy studies. Based on his experience working across nonprofits, federal government, multilateral agencies, and academia, he is most interested in partnerships that ensure evidence is utilized in ways that learn from and benefit communities subjected to structural violence, racism, and abuse. His current research agenda includes (1) exploring transformative and restorative forms of inquiry, seeking to critically question overly technocratic practices that exacerbate deficit models, racialized narratives, and extractive forms of learning; (2) imagining new futures by working alongside communities to inform how policymakers interact and consider community-informed evidence, and methodology (i.e., how researchers can learn from communities to rethink how they conduct research); and (3) testing critical pedagogical practices, to formulate methodological lessons from those who use their experiential knowledge to advocate for societal change.

Dr. Dazzo’s current research include partnerships in the U.S. and abroad, including: working with high school students to explore how racial microaggressions impact their mental health; and collaborating with an Indigenous Maya community in Guatemala to explore how their knowledge systems can educate others on memorialization, justice, and restorative forms of inquiry (i.e., how research can heal, rather than simply prove a point).

He is currently co-authoring a textbook—Critical Participatory Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Introduction and Guide—and a co-edited volume—The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Participatory Inquiry in Transnational Research Contexts—with Dr. Meagan Call-Cummings and Dr. Melissa Hauber-Ozer, both to be published in 2023.


(Re)imagining inquiry as restorative practice: Unearthing healing through anti-racist, decolonizing, and community-engaged methods
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



Restorative validity and healing through inquiry: A visual ethnographic case study in Guatemala
  • Giovanni P. Dazzo, Carmencita Cúmez, Erica Henderson, Fredy Peccerelli
  • Wiley
  • restorative validity
  • research ethics
  • participatory methods

Awards and Accolades

Qualitative Research SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award

American Educational Research Association, 2023