About A Community Approach to Research Partnerships (CARP)

The Community Approach to Research Partnerships (CARP) aims to collaboratively establish academic and community partnership models based on mutual benefit, understanding and trust.

Existing partnership models do little to assure that academic research goals meet community needs. This project works to amplify the voices of community-based organizations and ensure that they play an active role in deciding such key issues as the relevance, goals and ethics guiding research in their own communities.

The Community Approach to Research Partnerships (CARP) emerged out of the Boston Civic Media Consortium, a network of civic media researchers and organizational partners in Boston. A series of interviews, discussion groups, and facilitated workshops with members across the academic and community stakeholder spectrum will contribute to the creation of a document that organizations can use to structure their institutional collaborations.

In addition to building the capacity of local organizations and improving end-user designs, the outcomes of the project may serve as a national precedent for how community groups can enter academic partnerships from an equitable negotiating position.

The MOU Template

To put mutually-beneficial partnerships into practice, download the MOU template in the Resources tab below. The MOU is a suggested series of prompts for the researcher and subject parties to arrive at a set of mutual interests, shared decision-making practices, and an agreed-upon understanding of data ownership practices. The template is a living and adaptable document. You can review, select, and modify the sections that are most relevant to you or fill it out in its entirety. This practice can take the shape of anything from a 15 minute conversation with your research partner to a multi-week process with an array of stakeholders to negotiate and establish the most mutually-beneficial terms for collaboration.

Since we aim to update this resource regularly, please let us know how you are using it or would like to see it made even more adaptable by emailing info@elab.emerson.edu or tweeting to @EngageLab.