Resources for practitioners

Advice for practitioners from researchers

So someone from a university approaches you about doing research. What might you think, and what could you do? This section of the website provides our suggestions for community organizations and practitioners on working with Universities and researchers. We know there is no “one size fits all” approach. All types of relationships established will vary across different types of research and the particular needs of the researcher. That said, our suggestions may fit in certain circumstances, and not in others. We try, however, to focus on the key process and relationship issues to address as part of developing your collaboration.

  • Take time to develop relationships with your university partner characterized by understanding and trust.
  • Ensure that your research goals and interests are compatible with those of the researcher(s).
  • Be sure you fully understand your university partner’s research plan, and actively share your research and programmatic interests and expectations for future work.
  • Do not feel surprised if different researchers from the same institution do not coordinate their work in your organization with one another.
  • Carefully organize meetings to ensure a productive use of time.
  • Ensure your organization is committed to the work and your partnership results in sustainable projects.
  • Understand that meaningful engagement in the project requires time and trust.
  • Once you have a set of partners to plan and conduct the work, avoid inviting additional partners to join the project until you have agreed upon a clear plan.
  • Develop and share written summaries of all decisions and agreements made during the research process.
  • Plan to discuss (unequal) power dynamics between you and your university partner(s). We have found perceptions about power frequently to be perceived differently.
  • Practice good communication between your organization, your university partner(s), and other stakeholders (e.g., members of the larger community).
  • Establish specific timelines and priorities for your project.
  • Establish specific timelines and priorities for your project.
  • Explore available options for additional financial support for your work, but discuss implications of the potentially long timelines associated with grant applications.

Read more about what it’s like working with researchers.

Advice for practitioners from practitioners

Building the Field of Community Engagement

Practical how-to guides

Case studies