Community-Based Participatory Research Interns
KLF Impact International Research Internships allow participants to engage with KLF Impact International community partners in researching local issues and developing potential solutions. With community-based participatory research, the research question is defined and findings are analyzed together with the community. The goal is knowledge creation which serves to inform community action. Program length can vary from 9 weeks to a full year. KLF Impact International Research Internships allow participants to engage with KLF Impact International community partners in researching local issues and developing potential solutions. With community-based participatory research, the research question is defined and findings are analyzed together with the community. The goal is knowledge creation which serves to inform community action. Research Internships have a strong emphasis on community-based participatory research to ensure the researchers work side by side with community members.
What is Community-Based Participatory Research?
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a framework or approach for conducting research that is characterized by the relationships between the communities and researchers. This type of research is collaborative and requires partnership development, cooperation, negotiation, flexibility, and commitment to addressing local issues. CBPR works to accomplish objectives and development through empowerment and ownership.
Research Internship overview
All KLF Impact International Research Internships begin months before an intern’s arrival. KLF Impact International site teams work with our community partners to help them identify research priorities and develop a community-based research proposal. Research interns can apply to research one of our community partners who has agreed to host interns. Upon acceptance to the internship program, research interns are encouraged to conduct background research about the issue they will be investigating in-country as well as study participatory research methods that might be useful.
When interns arrive in the field, KLF Impact International local site teams will lead an in-country orientation, providing each intern with invaluable guidance and insight that will help them throughout their program. Orientation is a blend of theoretical topics such as KLF Impact International’s asset-based community development model and community-based research and day-to-day details such as how to navigate the local transit system, safety, and security. Through the orientation process, interns are introduced to the people who will be their support network while they are in the country: KLF Impact International staff, their research supervisors, host organizations, host families, and other interns serving in the area.
After orientation, you will begin your research with your community organization. The intern and the host organization will develop a work plan for collecting types of data that will provide the organization with insightful, actionable information about community sentiment, behaviors, preferences, challenges, opportunities, and resources. Community-based research helps to generate knowledge drawn directly from community interactions. This new knowledge will help community-based organizations better serve the communities and interact more inclusively. Interns may continue existing research, evaluation projects, or work with their organization to seek an answer to a new question that will assist them to improve their community work.
Research internships are a minimum of nine weeks or as long as a full year. However, the more time a participant can commit to a project—planning an innovative research project, conducting careful data gathering, and analyzing their results alongside scholarly work and community input—the more effective it can be. Many community-based research projects require multiple rounds of data collection–each building on and deepening understanding of what was learned in an earlier round. Interns often find it challenging to complete multiple rounds of data collection and analysis in 9 weeks. Therefore we recommend spending at least 12 weeks in the community, if you can, to allow time for your research results to be analyzed and reflected upon in the community.
RESEARCH TIMELINE: Each research project has its flow and timeline. Because the goal of the research is to create actionable knowledge for the community to use, flexibility is important. Most research interns will have spent some time brainstorming and reading up about the work they will do and the research topic before arriving in-country. This is good preparation; however, it is important to be prepared to adapt the focus of the research to the present interests and needs of the community–which may have shifted in the months elapsed between application and arrival on site. Therefore, during the first few weeks of their program, interns will inevitably need to adjust their plans to the local context and current reality. After finalizing a central research question, a work plan, and a timeline, volunteers coordinate with their organizations, KLF Impact International, and other volunteers to gather invested community members, tools, subject experts, local library and archival resources, and whatever else is needed to make their project a success. Ultimately, the project aims to collect useful information and then return it to the community and the organization. In the last phase of the internship, the intern works to distribute her or his findings or make recommendations based on community input.