Strong Connections: Community and Researchers Working Together

Relationships between community-based organizations and researchers are very important. We know that having strong, respectful and reciprocal relationships are crucial in doing our work. However, it can be tough to know exactly what steps to take to move these relationships forward when researchers approach community-based organizations to work together. These relationships include a lot of moving piecesimportant conversations and meeting each other where we are at. 

In this vein, we wanted to highlight a series of resources that can help both organizations and researchers think through what to do when working together on research. 


Research 101: A Manifesto for Ethical Research in the Downtown Eastside

This documentdeveloped through conversations between “representatives from several diverse [Downtown Eastside (DTES)] organizations” provides reflections, considerations and areas of “ethical concerns that are important in the DTES community” for researchers who would like to conduct research in the DTES. The document notes that many of these considerations go beyond the scope of what is considered by university Research Ethics Boards. As well, Research 101 includes recommendations for developing a Community Research Ethics Board (CREB).  

Additionally, you can learn more about Research 101 in the minutes of our October 2019 CBR Quarterly meeting, where members of the team that developed Research 101 presented. 


G.R.O.W. + L.I.F.T. Checklist and Supplemental Report

The G.R.O.W. + L.I.F.T. checklist is a “communication tool” that offers short, clear considerations, tips and reflections for beginning and moving through conversations and planning in order to allow “academic researchers to reflexively account for how their research is effectively serving the communities and community-based organizations they (want to) work with”, with a focus on new academic researchers. The supplemental report offers more background to how the Checklist was developed, who should use it and links to other helpful resources to support doing community-engaged or community-based research. 


Health Initiative for Men (HIM) Research Engagement and Collaboration Application Package 

Health Initiative for Men (HIM) has developed a research engagement and collaboration application package for “researchers and institutions seeking letters of support or formal partnerships” with HIM. Simon Rayek, Program Manager, Health Promotion at HIM, shared that there were two goals in developing this package: creating a system for participation in research that upholds HIM’s values and commitment to community, while also working to build capacity within researchers and point them to resources that will deepen their community-based approach. The package also creates space and a framework for conversations about the possibilities of engagement – a ‘jumping off point’.

The process of development of this research engagement and collaboration package was done with researchers and community organizations in the field; the biggest advocates for the development of this package were both researchers and people with lived experiences, who recognize the impact of research and how important it is that research be done in a way that honours community.

This package provides an excellent and fulsome applied example for other teams of considerations for research partnerships and how these relationships can be built in a reciprocal and clear way.


Additional resources:

PAN’s website is filled with resources that may be helpful in doing this work, including on our Research Partnerships page. In addition to the resources mentioned above, this page includes resources such as:


Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
This post was prepared for PAN’s Research and Evaluation Treehouse by:

Madeline Gallard, Community-Based Research Coordinator, [email protected] 

Paul Kerber, Evaluation Coordinator, [email protected] 

Anita David, Peer Mentor, Get Checked Online, [email protected]