TSAS Charter of Community Research Principles
TSAS affiliated researchers may collaborate with community partners (typically civil society organizations or NGOs) on projects funded by TSAS. Both parties stand to benefit from such cooperation. Researchers gain insight from these agencies and, in many cases, access to clients as research subjects. NGOs potentially enhance their own research capacity/knowledge and have input into the questions that researchers ask and the methodologies used to answer them.
The following charter represents guidelines for community-university research collaborations. All researchers submitting grant applications to TSAS, who intend to work with NGOs, will be required to meet with the agency with whom they wish to collaborate to discuss the research, provide a copy of the charter/guidelines to the agency, and obtain a letter of support for the project to accompany the grant application.
As per SSHRC and university-specific regulations, researchers must also meet the required ethics standards for conducting research.
TSAS is committed to the formation of equitable relationships between university researchers and staff in community organizations. This involves:
- Consultation throughout the stages of the research process, including study design, implementation, and dissemination (this requires regular contact before, during, and after the research project);
- Appropriate recognition and compensation to those employed by agencies, and research participants for the time spent on the research and resources used by the project;
- The ethics review committee of the PI’s home institution must approve the project;
- Assurances of confidentiality and informed consent for all research participants (normally this is part of the ethics review process);
- Appropriate support for research subjects to ensure the broadest participation possible, i.e., support to cover basic child care, transportation costs and, where appropriate, translation (to ensure that non-English speakers may be included in research);
- The dissemination of a summary of research findings from each project to cooperating agency staff and, where possible, to all those who participated in the study; flexible and responsive approaches to dissemination should be considered, such as community meetings to test ideas and gather feedback from research participants, agencies, and researchers.
- Finally, the process of dissemination should include representatives of community organizations as well as representatives of government, ideally at the same time.
Above all, respect for the participants in the research is paramount. Should there be a conflict of interest between researchers’ objectives and the well-being of research participants, the latter will take precedence.