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Community Based Research: Getting Started

Learn the skills you need to carry out research in your own community using the 'citizen science' approach of UCL's RELIEF Centre.

1,758 enrolled on this course

Community Based Research: Getting Started
  • Duration3 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours

Community based research means involving a community in all stages of a research process - this kind of research can give people the power to transform their lives.

On this course you will learn the basics of community based research by examining the citizen science methodology used by the RELIEF Centre in Lebanon. You will learn to construct your own research questions to find out community needs and how to meet them. You will develop research skills to carry out local research projects sensitively and ethically, using examples from Lebanon to support you as an aspiring researcher.

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  • Week 1

    The what, why and how of community based research

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course

    • What is community based research?

      What it is, what you can use it for and what you can achieve with it

    • Why would community based research help a community?

      Find out how viewing issues from multiple perspectives in the community can help bring about positive and inclusive change

    • How do we make it work?

      Successful research depends on asking the right questions and be sensitive to the community - how can we achieve this?

    • Summary and discussion

      Now we can reflect on what we have looked at and discussed this week.

  • Week 2

    Skills for community based research

    • From research question to data collection

      How can we decide what data to collect to answer our research questions?

    • Developing interview skills

      What makes a good interview question? What do you need to put in place to make your interviews a success?

    • Developing observation skills

      How can we hone our skills of watching and listening to get the most out of observing for data collection?

    • Summary

      Reflect on the week

  • Week 3

    Planning your community based research project

    • Developing your research project

      Now you have your research question and explored data collection methods, you can put together a research proposal

    • Submitting your research proposal for peer review

      In these steps you will submit a short research proposal for peer review and review other participants' proposals

    • Introduction to qualitative data analysis

      How can we make sense of the data we collect?

    • Networking and public engagement

      How can we create a community based research community and engage others in our research?

    • Final thoughts

      Reflections on the course

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the uses of community based research
  • Assess the varying perspectives of different stakeholders in community based research
  • Reflect on the sensitivities and ethics of community based research
  • Identify a research question for community based research and appropriate research methods to answer it
  • Develop research skills appropriate to community based research
  • Produce a proposal for a community based research project

Who is the course for?

This course is for community members who want to find new solutions for community problems. It’s also suitable for community researchers recruited by NGOs, teachers who want to investigate relationships between school and the community, academic researchers in Lebanon and elsewhere, students wanting to carry out community research, leaders of community research, trainers of researchers in NGOs or on academic projects, and even entrepreneurs who wish to investigate the community demand for their products or find out what the community needs.

Who will you learn with?

Chair of Learning with Digital Technology, Knowledge Lab, UCL IOE. Developing a global community of teachers around the Learning Designer

Twitter: @thinksitthrough https://twitter.com/thinksitthrough

Senior Researcher at UCL Institute of Education with the Future Education team at the RELIEF Centre: https://www.relief-centre.org/home Twitter: @eileenkennedy01 https://twitter.com/eileenkennedy01?lang=

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

American University of Beirut (AUB)

The American University of Beirut is a teaching-centered research university based on the American liberal arts model of higher education.


The Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) is an independent academic research institution whose purpose is to promote international understanding of the country and the issues facing it.


Multi-Aid Programs


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