GIER recently hosted three visiting scholars who combined their wealth of experience for an enlivening panel discussion and interactive workshop on community based research.

Professor Lesley Wood from North West University South Africa, spoke about the importance of community-based research and incorporating knowledge for and as change as part of lifelong learning.

Practitioner Bob Dick, Professor Lesley Wood and Dr Sara Branch

Professor Wood was supported on the day by action research practitioners Dr Sara Branch (Griffith University) and Bob Dick, independent scholar, an educator, facilitator, coach, and change consultant. 

Professor Wood said that community-based research is done with community as opposed to on community. It is relational, dialectical and participatory, seeking to make research processes more inclusive, accessible and transparent.  Under this paradigm, many approaches are used including action research, participatory action research and community based participatory research.  

Action research learning in progress

This type of research reflects the values underpinning GIER: collaboration, care, diversity, openness, honesty, trust and flexibility.  The practitioners guided workshop participants through an action learning process of collaboration, idea sharing and active engagement of diverse stakeholders to solve their real-world practice problems.  

In the workshop, participants used a Socratic approach to project design, beginning with a focus question of “what is your central issue, problem or concern” and then collaboratively worked through the significance, contribution to knowledge, methodology, timeline and international perspectives of this central issues.  

Workshop discussions

By making space for these critical conversations and continuous reflections by researchers on their praxis, this process seeks to bring about transformative change in teaching, learning and educational research.  

Read more about Community Based Research in Professor Wood’s new book below.

Community-based Research with Vulnerable Populations: Ethical, Inclusive and Sustainable Frameworks for Knowledge Generation