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The sensitivities of the research process

Watch the video featuring researchers Elaine Chase, Zeina Amro and Ben Anderson reflecting on the sensitivities of the research process.

This video is about researchers reflecting on the sensitivities of the research process and working with vulnerable people.

Their stories illustrate the importance of ‘reflexivity’ – of reflecting carefully on how your research approach, and the questions you ask, are perceived by the community members.

Elaine Chase (UCL Institute of Education) explains the importance of creating a rapport with the people you talk to. It is not necessary to ask about the key research questions – just having a chat, talking about all kinds of topics, can be sufficient to create a friendly relationship, just as you do in normal daily contact with neighbours and workers in the community.

Zeina Amro (Kings College, London) talks about being sensitive to people who may be vulnerable. This was important when she was working with Syrian refugees as community researchers. She decided to put a limit on where the researchers could take photos in a public place, for example.

Ben Anderson (UCL Institute of Global Prosperity) describes the value of working with members of the local community as community researchers.

Elaine is a very experienced community researcher, and in the video she lists several types of sensitivity we have to bear in mind as we carry out a community-based research project.

This is a valuable checklist to be aware of as you plan your project, and these issues will come up again over the next two weeks. So we have summarised them in the article ‘Community-based research: Points to note’ – see Downloads.


Here you can leap ahead to Step 1.12 (End of week discussion), where you can propose the questions you would like the educators to answer at the end of the week. You can also ‘Like’ the other questions proposed, i.e. the ones you would particularly like the educators to respond to. The educators will respond to the ones with the most Likes at the end of the week.

Over to you

Thinking of your own community context, how might your sensitivity to the research process affect the kind of knowledge it produces and who benefits from it? Like or reply to other comments to help us develop this kind of approach to community based research.

Looking ahead to the next activity, now is the time to post your overall comments and questions to the End of Week Discussion step 1.12.

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Community Based Research: Getting Started

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