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What is Community Research?   

What are "Science Shops?"

See the Groningen conference report for an English version of the conference proceedings of the national meeting of the Dutch science shops, May 1996 - Translated by Henk Mulder. Click here! if that site takes too long to access.

Presently, most research in the United States is conducted on behalf of private enterprise, the military, the federal government, or in pursuit of the scientific community's intellectual interests. Minority or lower income groups have little influence over the direction of research. Consequently, research agendas often favor elite groups and help them maintain privileged positions.

In contrast with this prevailing undemocratic model, "community-based research" is rooted in the community, serves a community's interests, and frequently encourages citizen participation at all levels. Community-based research aims not merely to advance understanding, but also to ensure that knowledge contributes to making a concrete and constructive difference in the world.

Despite the effectiveness and democratic nature of community-based research, it has yet to be widely adopted in the United States. However, some other nations have well established systems for conducting such research. In particular, in the Netherlands a national network of 50 university-based "science shops" provides answers each year to about 2,500 research requests submitted by community and public-interest groups, unions, and local governments. Science shops are offices set up in universities where community interests request and propose research. They are a low cost method of conducting new research for communities, as well as coordinating and reporting on existing research on science and technology issues.

Reading up on Loka Community Research Initiatives and Science Shops

Richard Sclove, Director of the Loka Institute, has written several articles and papers on the subject of Science Shops. Please see the following for further information:

 

Madeleine Scammell & Richard Sclove, "Building a Community Research Network" - Loka Alert 3.6.

 

Richard E. Sclove, "Putting Science to Work in Communities," The Chronicle of Higher Education 41, no. 29 (March 31, 1995).
Richard E. Sclove, "Research for Communities"

 

Loka Alert 3.1 - Democratic Research: Toward a National Community Research Network

 

Democracy and Technology , Richard E. Sclove's award winning book from The Guilford Press

Loka's Scishops Listserv

The Scishops listserv was a forum for discussing issues related to "science shops," community-based research, community research centers, and the Community Research Network. Since the establishment of the Community Research Network, the Scishops list has been renamed the CRN list. Follow the links for subscription information.

There is also an on-line archive of the original scishops email discussions .

 


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