Research and evaluation in community or clinical settings and with community partners is both challenging and rewarding. Community-based research requires aligning the researchers’ needs and questions with the needs and questions of community members, service providers, or stakeholders; involving community voices in decision making; and ensuring that the results of research are useful to community members. This article describes two innovative, integrated approaches—a relational approach and a trauma-informed approach – used to conduct research and evaluation with community-based projects and to mitigate the challenges.
The goal of this paper is to encourage others to adopt relational and trauma-informed methodological approaches and use these frameworks in research and evaluation efforts in applied settings. Although applied research can be challenging these innovative approaches and strategies may contribute to overcoming some of the challenges and conducting meaningful, mutually beneficial research and evaluation with community-based projects. Research with vulnerable populations is of the utmost importance and can only be done through a deeply collaborative, sensitive, and relevant scientist–practitioner partnership pathway.
Researcher–community partnerships are a necessary but not sufficient facet of effective research and evaluation with community-based projects and in clinical settings. This article describes two approaches that we have integrated into a multiyear, multiphase research and evaluation initiative supporting the health and well-being of vulnerable families. Secifically, we adopted a relational approach, intentionally and consistently focusing on builpding relationships, and a trauma-informed approach, highlighting safety across all levels. These innovative approaches have facilitated success in conducting safe, meaningful research and evaluation with community partners. Based on these approaches, we outline specific strategies and key considerations used in the context of the initiative, with the goal of encouraging others to adopt relational and trauma-informed methodological approaches and use these frameworks in research and evaluation efforts in applied settings.
Research and Evaluation With Community-Based Projects: Approaches, Considerations, and Strategies
Naomi C. Z. Andrews , Debra J. Pepler, Mary Motz
First Published April 16, 2019 Research Article
American Journal of Evaluation