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Community research guidelines set stage for 'real world' scholarship
Date:4/13/2010

ommunity-based research projects was a lot of work. "We learned some lessons that we think will be useful for other researchers interested in community engagement," Taliaferro says.

For example, Taliaferro says, "we learned that implementing a program like this one requires a great deal of flexibility in terms of scheduling. You need to accommodate the schedules of both students and community members, which are often very different. And you need to make sure that students know from the outset that a program like this involves a significant time commitment well beyond what is expected in the classroom."

Similarly, faculty must realize that a program like this one is "much more than a classroom experience," Taliaferro says. "It involves hours of student training, preparing community partners to work with students and coordination effort."

Researchers interested in incorporating students into community-based research should also be prepared to work with students to ensure they are comfortable with their role in an overarching research project that likely began before they arrived and would continue after the course has ended. "This is significant," Taliaferro says, "because it helps students appreciate the importance of the research process and it lets them know that their work is valuable, even if they are not there at the conclusion."

One last key finding: you'll need go-getters. Taliaferro and Ames found that the students who chose to participate in their program were already active in campus and community affairs. "You need students who are intrinsically motivated," Taliaferro says, "to go beyond what is normally expected of undergraduates."


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Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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