How will we decide who does what and who takes the lead?
After some of the high-level ideas have been established, roles should be clearly determined. Roles help determine tasks throughout the project. Roles can be decided based on the expertise, time, and interests of the research partners. Having someone responsible for each task will help ensure accountability. When determining roles, keep in mind underlying power dynamics that might lead to incongruences in workload, decision-making, etc.
What are all the roles needed for the research project? How do we determine the scope of these roles and how they are going to be filled?
The players involved in the research project have obvious importance in carrying out the research. Identify what roles are needed for the project’s success, and clearly define these roles. Determine how to fill these roles, including where to recruit from and what attributes and backgrounds you’re looking for in these roles. Some things to consider include the supervision structure, pay rates, team size, if you want to hire university members (i.e., Research Assistants) or community members, and if there are particular institutions to help with recruitment.
If students are involved, how will we make sure they are prepared to work with community organizations?
When students are involved in the research project, it is important to make sure they are introduced to the community. Being introduced to the community means that the students understand the purpose of the project, the community organization’s role, the population they serve, and the differences in the community organization’s structure/how it operates. Likewise, the community organization should be prepared to work with students who have a different schedule, competing interests (i.e., the project, career goals, homework, classes), and may be new to community work or research in general.
A smooth transition into this work depends on ensuring understanding and comfort. Students are often seen as intermediaries between the community and university, so ensuring their active involvement and how to maximize their contributions can have a large impact on the entire research project, especially since students often do much of the ground-level work.