Academic researchers: You are partnering with community members for your research (or you would like to), but you’ve run into roadblocks and challenges. Sound familiar? Let’s talk. As a 3rd year Ph.D. student, I see that academic communication researchers (and other social scientists) are doing useful and important research in the community that is of great benefit to our society. Yet, beyond some readings on field research in a graduate school methods course, I have seen very few opportunities for conversation and learning about the practice of community research.
For example, maybe you need a forum for working through ethical challenges that arise when working in the field. You are considering drafting a formal written agreement outlining expectations with your community research partner. Or you wonder how to effectively explain the need for IRB to a community partner who is unfamiliar with it? I’ve heard these concerns, among others, discussed by academic researchers who are engaging in research partnerships with community members outside of academia.
For this reason, I have named 2018 the year of community research — a year-long journey of resource-sharing and community-building among community researchers. I believe it is time to celebrate this valuable research and collaborate to improve our efforts. Join me? Sign up to receive updates here.
- Learn from lessons learned by other researchers: Check out these four lessons learned about applied research gathered from a panel of academic communication researchers.
- Wonder how community partnerships work? Read the innovative research partnership series, a collection of stories behind the partnerships between practitioners and communication researchers. NEW: How Michelle Miller-Day and Frank Pegueros worked together to improve the D.A.R.E. curriculum
- More partnership stories coming! A new series coming soon will illustrate the stories behind research partnerships between communication researchers and medical doctors.
- Seeking templates or examples of written agreements for research with community partners. Have a lead? Share it here.
- Gathering more stories of researchers partnering with community members. Briefly describe your story here!
- Have another helpful resource, tool, etc that improved your practice of community research? Please share it here!
- Seeking a video for practitioner audiences unfamiliar with IRB to explain importance of human subjects protection in social sciences and basic elements of IRB. Know of a lead? Share it here!
- Submit your questions, challenges, or needs regarding community research practice. These responses will drive my year of community research efforts.
P.S. Wondering what I mean by “community research?” I use this loose term to address a large audience of academic researchers who are reaching beyond the walls of academia to develop responsive research questions, collect data in the field, and/or provide informative results in collaboration with or using input from community members. For example, Lynsey collaborated with a local advocate and key informant to collect and analyze data from a special population, and Jeanette shared evidence with stakeholders by developing a custom training for practitioners. You may call it applied research, community engaged scholarship, community-based participatory research, action research, or something else. To me, your particular methodology is not as important as the drive we share to engage the community with research.