CBRI Community Partners
Who is the community?
Working Definition of Community (Strand, et al, 2003, p.16): members of a community share a common interest or identity. The community partners that are typically sought out for community-based research are nonprofit organizations, public agencies, or small grassroots organizations that have any number of purposes. The most important part of selecting a community partner is to make sure that the mission, goals and practice of the partner align with the goals and course objectives of the academic partner.
Example ways to find a community partner:
1) Working with a pre-existing campus partner and work to expand the campus involvement to include community-based research. Working with a community organization that already has experience working with a university may already be familiar with some of the constraints that go hand-in-hand with such a partnership (43).
2) Other partnerships may emerge from the involvement of students in organizations as volunteers (44).
3) An academic researcher (in connection to a class that they are teaching or not), can reach out and ask whether anyone in the community could use particular professional skills and knowledge (45).
4) Outreaching in different centers on campus (The Women's Center, the LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Community Service-Learning Center) to see if any of the organizations that they work with might want to do research with you.
From the University of Michigan's Center for Community Service-Learning (p48) Questions to consider with partner when contemplating a CBR project:
1) Does what you want to investigate require or fit within the parameters of the community-based paradigm?
2) Do the research and community partner have shared goals and timeline?
3) Have norms been set for working together and for making decisions?
4) Where will the data that are collected be housed? Who owns the data?
5) Have roles and responsibilities been clearly delineated for all partners?
6) What is the understanding about sharing and using knowledge produced from the research?
7) How will conflicts about the research be addressed and resolved?
8) How will community participants be compensated for their time?
9) Where will grants be housed and how will grant money be used?
10) Have important political considerations been addressed?