Understanding the challenge of community-research partnerships in rural communities

Year: 2021

Author: Barnes, Nicoli

Type of paper: Symposium

Abstract:
Researchers will often experience vastly different research outcomes when researching with rural communities, despite having the same research design and embedding understandings for the contextualised and nuanced nature of such projects. In this paper we explore what might influence and produce these differences through one research project conducted across three different rural communities.  The project drew on a community based participatory research (CBPR) methodology specifically to allow for the development of responsive partnerships that encouraged communities to adapt the research to suit each community context.  We argue that the capacity of communities to effectively engage in meaningful partnerships might be explained (and further explored) through an approach that seeks to understand the community in terms of boundary crossers, community culture/maturity and the capacity of the community to engage an internal/external community orientation.  To do this we have conceptualise a framework that takes into consideration these elements and can be applied in a number of ways: firstly, to designing effective research approaches within a CBPR approach with rural communities; secondly, to engage as effectively as possible with these communities in a research context; and finally, to determine where communities are positioned in relation to their capacity for development and change.

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