“We Are About Life-Changing Research”: Community Partner Perspectives on Community-Engaged Research Collaborations

Posted by Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement on May 3, 2022

This  study  examines  the  ethics  and  politics  of  knowledge  across  15  distinctive community-engaged research projects. We focus our analysis on interviews with community partners and consider their perceptions of  research,  academic  research  partners,  motivations  for  partnering,  and the benefits and challenges of community-engaged research. We highlight three themes: Community partners’ (1) motivations to know better  and  more  systematically  what  they  already  know,  (2)  interests  in legitimating community-based knowledge (i.e., knowledge produced beyond  the  academy),  and  (3)  efforts  to  navigate  often  inflexible university  timelines  and  budgetary  processes.  Our  findings  highlight concerns  at  various  ethical,  political,  and  epistemic  intersections  and  connect to the possibilities and limits of equity-oriented collaborative research  methodologies  for  redressing  epistemic  and  social  injustices.  We  suggest  that  these  challenges  need  systematized  attention  if  the  field of community-engaged research is to achieve the epistemological and social justice missions that are often articulated as the aspirations of such partnerships.

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