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Community-Based Research

Student holding up a photo negative as part of a community-based research project.

Community-Based Research

Students

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.

Getting started

Students can connect with research projects in a few different ways:


Undergraduate students:

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 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:

1. Search

Check out our list of available research opportunities.

2. Apply

Contact one of our staff or complete our application form.

3. Interview

Once we receive your application, someone will be in touch to arrange an interview with the hosting organization/group/employer and faculty.

4. Start

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.


Graduate students:

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.


Testimonials

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)