Engaging People in Communities (EPIC)
Facilitates Community Based Research and Knowledge Exchange

Community-Based Research & Knowledge Exchange

What are Community-Engaged Research & Knowledge Exchange?

Community-Engaged Research is a framework or approach for conducting research, not a particular method in and of itself. At the core of all Community-Engaged Research is the understanding that the community will be involved in a meaningful way. Community-Engaged Research involves partnership development, commitment to addressing community issues and knowledge exchange. Knowledge Exchange is a process that brings together academic staff, students and members of civil society organisations to exchange ideas, learning, experiences and expertise with the purpose of mutual learning and growth. It is characterised by the principles that provide guidance for the research process and dissemination, and for managing partnerships between the wider community and the university.

Principles

- Partnerships should be based on mutual respect, collaboration, power-sharing and democratic participation and equality.

- Community partners should be involved at the early stages of a project, helping to define research questions and objectives, and having input into how the project will be organised.

- Community partners should have real influence on project direction.

- Research processes and outcomes should benefit the community, and community members should be trained whenever possible; research projects should help to build capacity.

- Community members should be a part of the analysis and interpretation of data and should have an input into how the results are disseminated.

- Partnerships should be encouraged to last beyond the life of a project.

- Community members should be empowered to initiate their own research projects which address needs they identify themselves.

For more information, follow the link to: A Guide to Ethical principles and practice, by the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action (Durham University) and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Benefits

- Community-Engaged Research takes place under real world conditions and the research questions come from the community, which increases the relevance of the outcomes and achieves social transformation.

- It promotes a more participative democracy and a sustainable development as it builds capacity and benefits all partners involved.

- Partnerships and collaboration enhance the creative process by adding new dimensions, experiences and expertise.

- It improves the research process itself (study and instrument design) and also enhances teaching.

- Involving community members in analysis and interpretation provides important explanations of results, and local interpretation may provide ideas the researchers had not considered from their point of view.

- It brings the opportunity to build greater trust and respect between academic researchers and communities. This may lead to future research and collaborations.

- It provides new opportunities and reaches a wider audience or new audiences.