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Helpful Tips

Whether you are new to community-based research and very familiar with this approach to teaching and scholarship, there’s a resource for you through the Engaged Scholarship Initiative.

The Key Is To Start small with well-defined projects.


(Action-Oriented Research)

When planning community-based research projects:

  • Establish clear objectives for research project
  • Review learning objectives of academic course, independent study, etc. with community partner to show clear connections to academic studies
  • Establish clear roles of responsibility and work plan (that can be modified if needed)
  • Establish a research agreement between all parties involved (i.e. faculty, community partner, students, etc.) that reflects work plan and responsibilities
  • Make sure you meet all research requirements and proper protocol of the Institutional Review Board (if applicable)
  • Ensure those who will collect/analyze data from human subjects has received necessary training and certification from the Institutional Review Board (i.e. CITI Training Modules)
  • Understand the principles of community-based research and which elements are directly relevant to your project.
  • Establish how the research will be disseminated internally and externally
  • Negotiate a timeline that reflects the constraints of the university calendar, the community partner’s availability, and additional flex time.

Additional TIPS

  • Start small and incorporate community-based research projects into current or aspiring teaching and scholarship efforts.
  • If a community-based project cannot be completed within a semester, consider extending aspects of the project over several semesters to keep workload manageable.
  • A department or professor can engaged multiple class sections in various aspects of the project to keep workload manageable and allowing students to see the project from beginning to end.
  • Delegate project tasks according to project objectives and the experience, expertise, and availability of the project participants.
  • If the project will extend over several months establish a reliable personal of contact at the university and in the community.
  • Intentionally follow up with students and community partners about the projects progress
  • The implementation of the CBR project will be guided by such things as academic objectives, community need, a memorandum of understanding, community influences, grant proposals and guidelines.
  • Give students concrete research questions with specific expected outcomes.