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At Simon Fraser University, community-engaged research is defined by a set of practices, values and objectives that enable the active participation of the individuals and communities directly affected by research activities. There is a joint responsibility between academic researchers and the many different layers of community for the design, research, analysis and sharing of research.
Community-engaged research is premised on principles of reciprocity and consent which center respect for protocols and the ways that knowledge is protected and shared, for the benefit of all. Through the process of inclusion, research findings can have greater relevance to the communities they concern, while meaningful engagement in the research process can help to increase the likelihood that research findings will be used and will be useful for the communities they involve.
What is Community-Engaged Research?
Community-Engaged Research (CER) is defined by a set of practices, values and objectives. CER explicitly involves active participation of the individuals and communities directly affected by research activities, and joint responsibility between investigators and the affected community for the design, execution and outcomes of the study. Through the process of inclusion, research findings can have greater relevance to the communities they concern. Among other benefits, community members bring crucial contextual information throughout the study process. Ultimately, meaningful engagement in the research process helps to increase the likelihood that research findings will be used and that they will be useful.
CER and related research approaches (e.g., Decolonial Methodologies, Community Based Research, Participatory Action Research, Rapid Assessment, Response and Evaluation) vary with respect to the methods they use and how goals and outcomes are conceptualized; however, they are consistent in that they all strive to promote principles of participation, cooperation, collaboration, social transformation, knowledge translation and finding balance between research and actions that is agreed upon by all those who are part of and directly impacted by the research.
CER fulfills the following criteria:
- The community is substantially involved in proposing and designing the research;
- There is shared ownership of the research and its mobilization, and the objective of capacity building for all partners;
- CER Researchers recognize that research is an ongoing conversation and relationship building process;
- CER research centers the needs and benefits of community members and organizations, Indigenous Nations, and leadership, including cultural leaders.