Community engagement at York: Sleek user-friendly inventory for Community Based Research findings unveiled

Community Engagement Centre logo

The York University – TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC) has introduced an innovative online survey to collect valuable, but little known information about Community Based Research (CBR) relevant to and conducted by community groups, as well as social and educational institutions in the Jane-Finch and greater Black Creek area.

The Inventory of Community Based Research is acollaborative effort between the CEC , its Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee  and community partners. The database generated by the inventory will facilitate information sharing between the myriad of organizations working in the region and allow researchers to leverage existing data to promote positive change and social equity.

Community Engagement Centre logoAny group or individual who has contributed information to the CBR inventory will have access to the database. For now, the aim is to disseminate the new inventory as widely as possible to anyone who has conducted research in or about the Jane-Finch/Black Creek area.

“We are particularly interested in information provided by community-based researchers in the Jane Finch/Black Creek area,” says William Woolrich, manager, programs and outreach, York University – TD Community Engagement Centre. Woolrich is the technical wiz behind the new CBR inventory and database. He also teaches courses in the social work program at York University in research and mental health, and is a doctoral student in education looking at methods for teaching leadership in higher education.

Community groups like ACT for Youth, a research initiative which focuses on youth in urban communities, and KINE kids, which provides community-based solutions to the challenge of inactive children, have been invited to participate, but the inventory is open to all.

“The inventory is designed to address two problems,” says Woolrich.  “First, community based research does not always engage in traditional methods of knowledge dissemination, so the process and results aren’t known to other community based researchers who may be interested in similar areas.” The inventory is unique in making diverse kinds of research easily available to others also conducting community based research relevant to the area.

“Second, the inventory demonstrates the value of CBR to the community,” Woolrich adds. “Stakeholders can better appreciate what has been accomplished; and equally important, can clearly see what remains to be done.”

The sleek new CBR inventory will be a way of engaging the community with a wide range of researchers in a form of knowledge distribution easily accessible by all. It will also help meet concerns, says Woolrich , for over researching the same subjects for yet another study. Moreover, community leaders and residents are often asked to provide their expertise in CBR projects, but rarely see the results of that participation. The goal is to make the new CBR inventory and database available via the CEC website

For more information, visit the new inventory of York U – TD CEC’s Community Based Research website.

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