1. Participatory Approach
  2. Communications
  3. Objectives/Goals

Participatory Approach

How will we involve those affected by the situation in the project planning and research process?

A participatory approach to research involves community organizations and community members in designing and conducting the research project. You and your research partners should discuss early on if there are certain community members, or other community organizations who are affected by this situation who can be invited to participate in the research design. Community members bring diverse viewpoints and different kinds of knowledge to help inform each step of project design and the research process. Community members may also be hired to work as researchers on the project.

Resources:

Participatory Action Research Instructors

Participatory Action Research Handbook

Guide for Community Organizations Engaged in Participatory Research with Academic Partners

Compensating Peer Researchers

Communications

How will we communicate our motivations, vision, capacity, timeline, etc. and work towards establishing a shared goal with common indicators?

Part of effectively communicating with your research partner is agreeing on key definitions, such as research, community, poverty, etc. Ensure that you and your research partner have a common understanding of important terms, especially when working with academic partners who may use unfamiliar terms and language. Regular communication (i.e., email updates) helps ensure partners remain on the same page while scheduling regular meetings for check-ins helps ensure a flow of communication. Communication is important to ensure the project has a united vision and that all partners agree on the indicators that will determine project success or problems. Clear and regular communication is also important to establish capacity for the project and realistic timelines based on this capacity. It is important to consider how often partners can get together in person to deepen the engagement with one another and to determine where in the community is an appropriate place to meet.

Resources:

Establishing regular communication channels

Objectives/Goals

How will we ensure the project is focused? Are the goals clear and measurable?

Goals should be determined in a collaborative process. When determining goals, the target audience should be kept in mind (i.e., if the goal is to conduct research aimed to support municipal policy-change, the audience for the research findings includes city councillors). Knowing the goals and target audience of the research will help zero in on methods.

Resources:

Goal-setting example