Engaging Community Members in Research
We believe that the people whom the research is intended to benefit should have opportunities to be meaningfully engaged in all phases of the research effort. By doing so we increase the quality of our research findings and the likelihood that the results will be of use to communities.
Through the process of community-based researchi it is also possible to build and sustain community capacity for inquiry and transformation. We are committed to the meaningful participation of community members in designing, conducting, interpreting and applying research so that in the process, participants may build their knowledge, skills and sense of agency.
Immigrants, refugees and/or members of racialized groups in Toronto play an active role in most of our research projects. Community members are often hired to work as peer researchers or peer research assistants on specific projects.
Peer researchers are members of the research team who identify with a community or group of interest and have lived experience of the issue being stuided. In most cases, they are not directly affiliated with an academic institution or community organization. The following is a summary of our typical approach to working with peer researchers:
- Recruit and train Peer Researchers from selected communities to work as co-researchers along with community and academic partners
- Provide practical, accessible training geared to the project and PR’s needs and interests
- Establish clear roles/responsibilities and shared principles for guiding the work of the project
- Involve Peer Researchers in all stages of the research including defining the research question, designing research tools, conducting analysis, writing results and dissemination of results
- Engage in ongoing evaluation and reflection.