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Community-Based Research

Woman standing in front of YWCA building, a community-based research host organization.

Community-Based Research


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.

3. Matching

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.


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:

The TCRC expands both our credibility and effectiveness. We’ll be in a better position to deliver our mission.

– Community host (2015/2016)

The results were beyond anything I could have achieved on my own.

– Community host (2015/2016)

We truly value this partnership and find so much value in the experiences offered to the participants, but to us as well.

– Sheridan Graham, County of Peterborough