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Teach one!?!

August 11, 2011

“Why do I have to convince them (researchers) to come to the community and share what they learned?”  That is the question one of my friends, colleague, and community members asked me earlier this week.  It wasn’t really directed at me but at the situation where researchers come into a community and ask its members to take part in their study but in the opinion of many of my friends never come back and let that same community know the results of what they learned.  My response is that not all researchers are like that, some do actually talk about what they learned from the study they were conducting and not just in academic journals but at area bars, churches, rec centers, and offices. But of course I then had to say but not many. I responded that they would love to share what they learned after all it is their life’s work. But then of course I had to say but sometimes it gets really techie and they drone on and can cure insomnia along with whatever ailments they were trying to study.

The “why do I” questions always get me. The answers in my head are almost always like: why not you?; if not you, then who?; because they (researchers) need to know there is someone who cares enough about this community to hold them accountable for what they say and do in this community.

My answers are always because I am noisy, inquisitive, curious, thirsty for more knowledge and they have it.  My answer is always because they need to know there were some elements that should have been included in their study that were not possibly because they never included the community they were studying in the planning process.

But my true end all be all answer to the question: we need to train our community to be the researcher, then there will be no need to convince or cajole. Hopefully if we nurture that noisy, inquisitive, curious nature in our children, our neighbor’s children, in ourselves and we care enough about those things in our neighborhood; both the researcher and the community will not be able to share what they have learned fast enough. The exchange will be one of trust and true communication.


(see all of Tiffany’s posts on Voices from our Allies)

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