Community questions? Community answers.
In community-based research, the questions come from the community and, using credible research methods, community members, researchers, professors and students work collaboratively to find the answers.
At the Trent Community Research Centre we facilitate this process. If you have research questions you can’t find the answers to, or if your organization doesn’t have the capacity to carry out the research you’d like to, we can help. We’ll connect your organization with passionate researchers to work on your behalf (often free of charge).
Most often, this means matching a project to a capable upper-year undergraduate student at Trent, and supporting them as they pursue their research. The student earns academic credit while contributing to the research needs of his or her community, and your organization receives research results that will help you achieve your goals and do better work.
If your research needs are more complex, though, we can connect you with graduate students and professors to tackle your project, or we can carry it out ourselves, with support from our strong network of academics and scholars.
We want to help with any research project that serves our community’s needs. Past projects have included case studies, document analysis, environmental studies, impact assessments, literature reviews, needs assessments, program and service evaluations and secondary research. We can facilitate projects in many different disciplines and using a variety of methods.
Interested? Here’s how to develop a project and get it matched:
How to develop a project:
1. Give us a call!
Talk with one of our staff to brainstorm your project and begin developing a suitable approach. If you already have a well-developed project idea you might skip to step two.
2. Research Proposal form
Complete a COMMUNITY PROJECT FORM, available for download. We will offer feedback on this, and help to hone your questions and develop appropriate research methods.
Once we have finalized a research proposal with you, we will try and match it to a suitable student or other researcher. There is no guarantee of a match, but our experience shows that Trent students are engaged and passionate about community-based research.
1. Proposal Development
The first stage of a CBR project is development. After the TCRC connects with a community organization, we ask that they complete the research proposal form. This provides a framework for the host to outline the scope and intent of their project. Once this proposal is completed, it is posted to the TCRC website to show it is an open project. During this time, students are typically completing their CBR applications and keeping an eye out for available projects. The TCRC is actively promoting the various projects to students, classes, and faculty.
2. Student Matching
Once the TCRC identifies potential students, we send their applications to the host. The host has the final say in which students will take on the project. This is often decided through a short interview process where the TCRC facilitates a meeting between the potential students and the host to discuss the project expectations and the skills and expertise the student brings. Once a student is successfully matched, all parties will meet to discuss the project agreement. This document serves as a contract between all those involved. Its purpose is to outline the specific expectations and deadlines of the project. At this time, we also ask the host organizations to complete a WSIB declaration form.
3. Supervising the Research
Once matching and registration is complete, you are able to begin your research! Keeping an open channel of communication with your faculty supervisor, the host, and the TCRC is critical during this stage. Be mindful of the deadlines set out in the project agreement. The TCRC has developed a number of online modules to support students as they engage in CBR. These cover important topics such as: understanding community need, negotiating roles and responsibilities, qualitative/quantitative research methods, and data analysis and interpretation. To learn more about the CBR modules.
4. Final Presentation & Report
This last stage of your CBR involves writing and presenting your results. This stage may vary depending on the nature of the project as not all projects will require a final report. Each year the TCRC hosts a celebration of community-based research event where we celebrate student achievement in CBR and give students the opportunity to showcase their work with the community. The TCRC asks all CBR students to submit a poster to present at the event. The event typically takes place at the end of March with the poster being due at the beginning of the month. The TCRC runs several poster sessions throughout the year to support students as they develop a poster.
We deliver research projects to dozens of community organizations each year, and they regularly say that the results are invaluable. Here’s what some of our recent hosts have said:
“It has been a privilege to work with staff and students at TCRC over the years to host a wide range of research projects. Kudos for exemplifying the value of a community-owned partnership!“
– Yvonne Lai, PhD, Director of Community Development, New Canadians Centre Peterborough
“Working with the TCRC has deepened our organization's connections to the Trent community, extended the work we're able to do through our program, and provided a Trent student with an opportunity to apply their skills beyond the classroom. Developing a CBR project strengthened my skills as a project coordinator, too- the learning goes both ways!"
– Hayley Goodchild, Program Coordinator, Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods (SUN)