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Community Engagement

President’s Awards FAQ

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Projects that take place in and have an impact in the Golden Horseshoe and Southwestern Ontario area constitute as a local project.

If you are unsure that the project you are nominating qualifies as a local project, please email Shahad Al-Saqqar for support at

Community Engaged Research is a subset of action research: a family of research methodologies that pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time. This award particularly recognizes individuals who incorporate the community as partners into their active research.

The Selection Committee especially appreciates nominations of projects which:

  1. value the expert knowledge and passion that members of the community have about their communities and issues affecting them
  2. foster ongoing collaboration between University and community partners on how to better understand and consider the issues identified as priorities by local communities
  3. perform research with community members and partners for the public good within the local community

For the purposes of this award, the two types of Community Engaged Research, Community-Based Research (CBR) and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), are equally valued

Community-Based Research involves collaboration between community groups and researchers for the purpose of creating new knowledge about a practical community issue to bring about social change and/or action. It is:

  1. built from the strengths of communities
  2. grounded in social justice and equity
  3. based on reciprocity and aims to provide mutual benefits to all partners
  4. flexible in the forms of knowledge it incorporates, collecting, analyzing, and sharing data in multiple ways to a variety of audiences
  5. focused on providing opportunities for co-learning
  6. supportive of ongoing collaboration among those involved

Community-Based Participatory Research focuses on joining with the community as full and equal partners in all phases of the research process. It is:

  1. focused on social, structural, and physical environmental inequities
  2. premised on active participation of community members, organizational representatives, and researchers
  3. designed to use partners’ expertise to enhance understanding of a given phenomenon
  4. intended to integrate the knowledge gained with action to benefit the community involved
  5. committed to ensuring equal partnership in all stages of research, including decision-making and ownership

Program evaluation can be considered a form of community engaged research in two cases:

  1. the program under evaluation is community-based and program users participate in determining definitions and/or indicators of success, and evaluation findings are used to shape program elements and designOR
  2. the program under evaluation is a McMaster program and community partners participate in determining definitions and/or indicators of success and community partners’ feedback shapes program elements and design

The following action-oriented principles were co-developed by community and University partners to inform our community-campus partnerships:

Relationships We can’t have community without relationships—these are the connections that build community. Any successful partnership must be built on trusting and respectful relationships guided by integrity. We realize that relationships take time to develop and thus we commit to providing opportunities to connect people across communities, sectors, and disciplines.
Reciprocity From design, to participation, to the outcomes of a project, we strive to work together for mutual benefit.
Equity We are conscious of the historical and structural inequities that exist in society and strive to provide access and opportunities to all residents and members of our communities.
Continuity Acknowledging that different communities work on different timelines and schedules, we strive to consider both the short and long-term implications of our work together.
Openness to Learning Change takes time. We are committed to continually learn from and evaluate our work together, reflecting on and sharing both our successes and failures to grow as individuals, partnerships, and communities.
Commitment to Act We aspire to make a positive difference in our community by sharing and acting on our knowledge to contribute to the greater social good.

You can address the nomination submission to the “Selection Committee”.