Tulum is a community that has grown tremendously, from 200 people in 1970 to about 15,000 today. Such rapid growth has created many opportunities, but also many problems. Research was designed to address some of these issues, including: what makes businesses succeed or fail; how businesses and tourism developed and how they affect the community; what kinds of problems the city has faced with tourism and economic development; who is going to school and what factors contribute to educational experiences and achievement; what kinds of illnesses are common in the community and what sources are used to address illness; how the community and family relations have changed over time, and why.
Student research has the potential to contribute to successful understanding of business and economic development, education, family, and health. Such understanding can contribute to improvements in the lives of individuals, their families, and their communities. This region of the world has been fraught with race, class, and gender inequalities and conflicts. Understanding the social, cultural, and political dynamics of globalization can ensure fair and responsible incorporation of the community, and help alleviate some of the negative affects of globalization.