Measuring the External Impact of University-Community Research Alliances and Partnerships Addressing Social/Health Services Issues
Research partnerships between universities and community organizations are proliferating in Canada. These community-university research partnerships provide an infrastructure from which research projects develop and findings are shared. They are assumed to produce knowledge that informs community members and leads to more efficient service delivery, more effective clinical programs, and enhanced community development. There is, however, little concrete evidence of these benefits, in part due to the lack of a reliable and valid tool to measure various types of community impacts on a generic level. The aim of this 3-year research program is to develop a reliable and valid survey measure of the community impacts of research partnerships between universities and community agencies that address social or health services issues. The measure will contain items focusing on three major areas of impact:
(1) enhanced knowledge,
(2) enhanced research skills and critical appraisal competencies among community members, and
(3) use of information by individuals, organizations, and communities.
The resulting measurement instrument will benefit members of research partnerships who wish to evaluate their effectiveness and adjust their activities to meet the community needs.
The instrument will be useful to community stakeholders and advisory boards who wish to capture the success of their collaborative research initiatives.