Identify the issue in collaboration with the community

Projects within the Community Engaged Co-Lab work through engaged partnerships in which objectives and goals of the research are set jointly by researchers and community partners.

Identify the type of work and partnerships

Researchers and community partners work together to identify the type of work that will effectively and appropriately address the issue

Collaboratively establish ethical principles for working together

Researchers and community partners work together to determine the ethical principles that will be important for guiding the collaborative research process

Decide on the types of knowledge products

Researchers and community partners work together to decide what types of knowledge products should emerge from the research. Research products supported by the Community-Engaged CoLab come in many forms from traditional research reports to artistic formats.

Establish ownership and custodianship of the knowledge products

Researchers and community partners establish the appropriate ownership and custodianship for knowledge products created through the research collaboration. This ensures that knowledge is protected and shared in ways that are deemed appropriate by community partners.

Determine how to share the knowledge products

Researchers and community partners work together to decide the best ways to share the products of the research. The Community-Engaged CoLab supports multiple ways of mobilizing knowledge, including through publications, events and exhibits.

Our approach is based on a concept called “boundary work”, which involves creating greater equity between communities and academic researchers. Boundary work usually also involves the creation of “boundary objects”, which are items that are collaboratively produced and help to communicate across “boundaries” (social, political, etc.) that communities are experiencing. Dr. Zurba is advancing this approach through the Community-Engaged CoLab core projects as well as through our other affiliated research partnerships. Find out more about these projects following the links below:

Special Issue on boundary work in the Journal of Cultural Geography edited by Melanie Zurba:

To read in more detail about the principles guiding the approach please see Dr. Zurba’s paper with her collaborators titled “Amplifying Indigenous community participation in place-based research through boundary work”. You can also find other papers on boundary work here:

Watch Dr. Melanie Zurba explain the intricacies of community-partnered research and introduce boundary work approach here: