Building Bridges Across Sectors: A Resource to Help Create Community and Academic Research Partnerships

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By: Nancy Mandell and Fiona Whittington-Walsh
Org: Sociology and Women’s Studies, York University
Date: 2004

This introductory guide is intended to help community and academic groups create and sustain successful research partnerships.

Seventy-five community, academic and funding representatives from across Ontario were interviewed about their experiences with community and academic research projects. Interviews explored the conditions and strategies used by groups that enable research partnerships to either thrive or expire. By examining the structural and individual contexts within which collaborative understandings emerge, the authors sought to provide greater insight into how social and cultural meanings of collaboration are constructed and thus help partnerships avoid many of the pitfalls that may lie in wait for them.

Building Bridges Across Sectors is a protocol or resource guide designed to help community and academic research partnerships flourish. In the protocol, the authors identify key elements of research partner relationships, such as:

  • Relationship Building
  • Clarity of Process
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Communication
  • Resource Planning
  • Research Outcomes

These issues often threaten to derail partnerships. Each of these issues is discussed and recommendations are presented. Partners are urged to talk about these issues and figure out ways to resolve their differences so that successful research collaborations can emerge. An example of an actual agreement between academics and several community partners is included as a template.