What to do if approached by a researcher
You are probably reading this because you have been approached by a researcher or student who wants to do some research relating to your transition initiative.
Not surprisingly, the transition movement is attracting a lot of interest from the academic community. We welcome this as there are many questions that need to be answered and academic research can play an important part in strengthening the work we are doing. However, we are also conscious that participating in research projects can deflect valuable resources from the transition process. We are also keen to ensure that the benefits from research are accrued by both the specific initiative(s) and the researcher.
To this end we have been trying to ensure that when researchers work alongside the initiative they add value to the process rather than undermine it. We provide advice to Researchers on this page of the website and we also refer them to a more detailed research protocol which can be downloaded from the Transition Research Network website.
When a researcher approaches you, it is reasonable to ask them for a brief summary of their work. This should clearly state what they require from your initiative (e.g. number and length of interviews, observing meetings etc.) It should also clearly state what benefits the initiative and the wider transition movement should expect to accrue. We are trying to persuade researchers to adopt participatory methods where possible – i.e. they contribute to transition projects and groups as part of their research methods. This is a direct way in which they can ‘give back’ to the initiative. However, this may not be appropriate in all cases and they may have other ways of reciprocating.
As a core group you need to consider whether you wish to participate in the research project. This is your decision alone. You may wish to speak to the researcher to clarify and points in their proposal. If you do agree to participate then it is important that you then honour what you have agreed to do within the best of your ability. Equally, we would expect the researcher to honour their side of the arrangement.
We have asked researchers to provide abstracts or summaries of their research once it is completed.