Your research can make an impact.
Pursuing community-based research with the TCRC is a rewarding way to earn academic credits while getting involved and contributing to your community. Your research will answer important questions posed by your community, and will help local organizations to do better work and to build a better Peterborough. To get a sense of the kinds of research questions local non-profits, arts organizations, governments, and other groups are asking right now, browse our available projects. Then, sign up! You’ll make connections in the community, produce relevant research for organizations making a difference at the local level, and learn about topics you wouldn't get a chance to anywhere else.
Students can connect with research projects in a few different ways:
1. Enrol in a course we already work with.
Undergraduate students can sign-up for one of our three 4000-level courses where every student in that course completes a community-based research project, either individually or in teams. The structure of these courses, including any lectures or seminars, is focused towards community based research. The following community-based research courses are available:
- FRSC-4890Y - Forensic Community-Based Resource Project
- GEOG-4830Y - Community-Based Research in Geography
- IDST-4220Y - Assessment of Development Projects
Undertaking community-based research is also an optional assignment in a number of courses including:
- CAST-3011H - Everyday History
- ERSC-3160H - Community Based Resource Management
- WMST-3021H - Discovering Feminist Research
Finally, students can also complete courses involving community service-learning projects. Community service-learning projects are smaller assignments usually used to give first and second year students a taste of community-based research. These projects are usually 10 to 20 hours in length (per student) and are undertaken as assignments within courses. Currently community service-learning projects are offered in:
- ERSC-1010H - Environmental Science and Sustainability
2. Complete an independent community-based research project under the supervision of a faculty member.
Undergraduate students can also complete a community-based research project as a form of independent study, either as a half, full, or double credit. In following this independent model, students identify a project they would like to work on and then, in conjunction with the TCRC, find an instructor to supervise their work. Students then meet with the community host organization to ensure a compatible match. Program staff assist with these steps, but participation in a project is contingent on the instructor's permission and, in some cases, that of the academic department. Generally, a student must have already earned 10 full-year credits and have maintained a 75% average to pursue a project with the TCRC. (If you do not meet these requirements, feel free to get in touch about whether you are eligible.)
Most of our independent projects commence at the beginning of each semester, but feel free to get in touch about opportunities throughout the year.
To get set up with a community-based research project, follow these steps:
Check out our list of available research opportunities.
Once we receive your application, someone will be in touch to arrange an interview with the hosting organization/group/employer and faculty.
If a successful match is made, do a celebration dance then begin to refine the research questions and lay out a project plan that everyone can agree to.
1. The Application
Students can sign-up for a capstone course where every student completes a community-based research project. Students can also complete a CBR project as a form of independent study (0.5, 1 & 2 credit options available). Following this model, students identify a project then find an instructor to supervise their work with the support of the TCRC. Finally, students can also complete courses involving community service-learning (CSL) projects. CSL projects are smaller assignments usually to give first and second year students a taste of community-based research. The first step is to choose a research project and submit the student application form.
2. Matching & Registration
Once we receive your application, someone will be in touch to arrange an interview with the hosting organization and faculty. If a successful match is made, you will be added to the CBR Blackboard course and begin developing a project agreement. This project agreement serves as a contract between the student, faculty, host and TCRC. It must be completed and signed by all parties before you begin the project. There are also a number of training modules, risk management forms and other paperwork that must be completed before you begin the project.
3. Conducting 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. Click to learn more about these modules.
Final Presentation & Report
This last stage of the research process involves writing up and presenting the 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 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.
To learn more about our current projects.
Graduate students can work with the TCRC in various ways. CBR projects can be incorporated into graduate study as part of graduate course work, major research paper (MRP), thesis, or dissertation. From time to time, paid internships also become available. There are also opportunities for graduate students to volunteer with the TCRC in supporting undergraduates in their research. Graduate students who are interested in community-based research are encouraged to review available and currently running projects and contact the TCRC to discuss their interest.
The Trent Community Research Centre harnesses the passion of talented students at Trent University to carry out research in the service of our community. The opportunity to do relevant and impactful research often motivates students to do outstanding work, and they often describe their experience with the Trent Community Research Centre as one of the highlights of their undergraduate career.
“Community-based research is more than a supplement to my education. It has shaped how I look at the world, how I think, and how I interact with my community.“
– Martine Cleary, student researcher (2015/2016)
“Working with TCRC has been so rewarding. I love having the opportunity to combine what I have learned in school with my own knowledge, to make such a difference in my community.“
– Emma Kaszecki, student researcher (2019/2020)