Scaling up community-based research: A case study

University of Victoria, University Canada West, and Simon Fraser University

Author +
Peter R. Elson, Priscilla Wamucii, and Peter V. Hall

Year: 2018

Community-based research generally focuses on achieving benefits for both communities and researchers on a local, place-based scale. This case study profiles the six-year evolution of a community-based social enterprise sector survey across Canada. What started as a class project, and then a one-time study of two provinces, grew, over time, to become a pan-Canadian social enterprise sector survey. The evolution of the survey was led by social enterprise intermediary organizations within provinces who recognized the potential value of the initial survey in their own context. This case study demonstrates that with time and commitment, the core values of community-based research can be successfully scaled-up.

Key Messages

  • The principles of community-based research can be scaled-up across jurisdictions when they are clearly held by both researchers and community intermediaries.
  • Dedicated community intermediaries can play a lead role in initiating research, defining research questions, engaging in research and disseminating results back to the community.
  • Research becomes both timely and relevant when the community and researchers collaboratively build and implement the research process and the community has ownership of the research outcomes’

This case study was originally published as an article in Volume 2, Number 2 (July 2018) of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s peer-reviewed journal Research for All.

Table of Contents

Literature review
How it all started
Survey launch
Community-led expansion
Pre-survey phase
Survey phase
Post-survey phase
Scaling up community-based research
Community partner connection
Survey design
Survey methodology
Survey data
Notes on the contributors