New Book: Scholarship in Action: Applied Research and Community Change

Posted by on July 7, 2006

Scholarship in Action: Applied Research and Community Change, is a new publication of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of University Partnerships and available as a PDF document at

Edited by CCPH member Linda Silka of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the monograph highlights the benefits derived from engaged, community-based research; showcases emerging applied research; and identifies the challenges associated with applied research. The unifying theme throughout this collection is how much communities and universities can achieve by working together in research partnerships.

The table of contents and an excerpt from the editor’s introduction appears below. CCPH members are indicated with an asterisk *.

To request a free hard-copy version, call the Office of University Partnerships Clearinghouse at (800) 2452691 and choose option 3 from the voice menu. You may also request publications online at

New Views of Research for the 21st Century: The Role of Engaged Scholarship – Barbara Holland

The Challenges and Opportunities of Engaged Research – Philip Nyden*

Fusing Horizons Through Conversation: A Grassroots Think-Tank Approach to Applied Research – Marie Sandy and Lourdes Arguelles

Research as Process: The Not-So-Great Divide Between Community-Based Research and Faculty Productivity – Claudio A. Holzner and Sarah D. Munro

Creating Tools for Deliberative Community Planning Through Interdisciplinary Research and Community Engagement – Rob Krueger, Fabio Carrera, and Jason Farmer

Engaging Academic Physicians in a Community-Academic Partnership: Lessons Learned – Barbra Beck, Marie Wolff, Staci Young*, and Syed M. Ahmed*

University-Community Partnerships to Promote Environmental Health and Justice in Worcester, Massachusetts – Laurie Ross and Timothy J. Downell

Reconfiguring Applied Research: Research Partnerships as Opportunities for Innovation – Linda Silka*

The Challenges Ahead: Five Leaders Reflect on Future Trends in Community-University Partnerships – Linda Silka*

Excerpts from the editor’s introduction:

“Research that takes place outside the laboratory is becoming an increasingly important force in addressing and helping communities solve local problems.

Academic researchers use different terms to describe this kind of inquiry, including applied research, engaged research, community-based research, and applied research partnerships. Despite the variety of labels, however, all of this research has a common focus on the application of academic knowledge to specific community-based issues.

Through applied research initiatives, communities and institutions of higher education often work together to identify the problem to be studied, investigate that problem through data collection, analyze and interpret the collected information, and decide how to implement an intervention based on the findings. Individual studies may include some or all of these steps of shared research and action.

Common sense might dictate that research, whenever possible, be approached in an engaged fashion. This is not always the case. Institutional and cultural barriers to applied research must be overcome before community- higher education research partnerships can achieve their full potential as they seek to bring rigorous research to bear on the most pressing challenges facing communities. Fortunately many groups are now promoting applied research and helping researchers break down the barriers to its implementation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUDs) Office of University Partnerships (OUP) has been a leader in this regard, as have the National Institute of Environment Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. In Europe the academic Science Shops movement has also demonstrated the value of engaged research.

The intent of this volume is to showcase emerging applied research and to call for more research that brings together communities and universities in productive ways. The peer-reviewed articles included in this volume take readers through the varied paths by which productive applied research partnerships are developed and nurtured. The articles will be useful to many different groups: academic researchers and community leaders who are new to the applied research arena, faculty members and other experienced applied researchers who are currently engaged in this work, higher education administrators who are seeking a better understanding of the benefits that applied research holds for universities and their communities, community leaders hoping to engage their local colleges and universities, and faculty seeking ways to collaborate on research with local stakeholders.”

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