Edited by Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton
Chapter 7: Incorporating community: opportunities and challenges in community engaged research
Community-engaged research projects include members of the public, practitioners or community organizations as partners in research projects along with scientific teams. Scientists and community members collaborate to understand and address environmental or social problems. Such partnerships have been shown to result in multiple benefits for both science and practice, but they are difficult to carry out and often neither scientists nor community members have much experience working together. This chapter identifies two key issues that make partnership projects difficult – disciplinary challenges, owing to multiplicity of terms, standards and approaches, and implementation challenges, owing to lack of clear road maps or training programs on employing concepts in practice. The chapter addresses these issues by providing an overview of what it means to do community-engaged research and by offering some insight into practical challenges to expect and ways to address them. We review multiple perspectives (i.e. citizen science, action research, community-based research, participatory research) and key terms and offer tools for developing a common language and understanding of different ways in which scientists and community members might work together. The chapter concludes by discussing common challenges that transdisciplinary teams face along with practical examples from our own experiences to illustrate how these might be addressed.
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