This semester I am co-instructing a community-based research course with the South Madison Farmers’ Market. Last week in the Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network meeting, I was sharing with one of the event’s participants that we would not ask students to conduct a literature review as part of our research report. I explained that literature review can be done anytime and they already have the skills in doing that kind of work.
This participant was surprised, and thought that literature review should be part of the research activities. This participant went on to say that literature review helped inform researchers to”negotiate” the scope of “collaborative” research with their community partner.
I have been doing some thinking since then and thought there are a couple important points.
First, one of the main purposes of offering a community-based research course is to give opportunities to students to gain knowledge from community. Literature review will violate this spirit since students will “still” be gaining book or literature knowledge. Please read also what Lynet Uttal suggested about local theorizing.
Second, community-based research is an attempt to direct academic research that addresses real community problems. Community know the exact problems that need solving. Researchers do not negotiate on that. Rather, researchers work together with community in framing the problem to a research question that can produce actionable research findings. That is, research findings that can be used immediately by community to support their program planning.
I welcome your thoughts in this.
Thursday May 9th was the last instructional day of spring semester 2013. We gathered in Room 15 Science Hall to deliver what we have learned from our community-based research to The Natural Step Monona (TNS Monona). It sounded like any other classes in the last week of semester. However, it was rather special for me–a bittersweet moment–after deeply involved in three-academic-year of community-university partnership between the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and TNS Monona, we arrived to the end of a cycle.
Continue reading We are a cycle and we are now complete
Teaching is not easy, absolutely. But sometimes I feel that putting myself as a facilitator instead of teacher could help lessen the challenges. The challenge is different, but apparently one is not less challenging than the other. BTW, as a Teaching Assistant, I was encouraged to take more responsibilities in leading this course. And I am happy to take the challenge.
Writing here in the Lakefront cafe Memorial Union, I am trying to reflect on how I probably did not do a good job especially in facilitating the discussion about “knowledge” yesterday. I have a group of smart students and from their reading reflecions, they brought great ideas about local knowledge, urban knowledge, indigenous knowledge, professional knowledge, and knowledge democracy, and how they are relevant to the context of social movement. Continue reading Teaching/facilitating CBR course
This image is taken from the Sustainable Transport Magazine, Issue 22, 10 Dec 2010. The full document can be downloaded. And I would like to start my discussion by visual-analysing this very image.
Continue reading 10 principles for Sustainable Transport
A little over a year ago, I learned that our proposal for a capstone class to the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies got accepted. I literally jumped off my chair when reading the email from the selection comittee; I was so happy. Supported by the Nelson Institute’s Community Environmental Scholars program, Charlotte Zieve, and the Morgridge Center for Public Service, the class had been finalized by holding a public event last week as our final meeting. It was indeed a successful class. We had a group of twelve highly motivated undergraduate students, and had the support of fourteen dedicated The Natural Step Monona volunteers. I both thanked and congratulated them for this. The following link will bring you to a news coverage by the Herald Independent about the event.
Continue reading A successful community-based research class