Community-Based Research and Evaluation

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A graduate certificate is currently being offered by The University of Alberta’s Community University Partnership (CUP), which focuses on community based research and evaluation. The program brings together researchers, practitioners and community members to share knowledge to develop and refine best practices.

The Community Based Research and Evaluation (CBRE) certificate program requires four courses:

 – INT-D 500 – Introduction to community-based research and evaluation
 – one (*3) graduate-level course in program planning and evaluation
 – one (*3) graduate-level course in quantitative research methods
 – one (*3) graduate-level course in qualitative research methods

Unfortunately for MACT students, COMM 501 (Applied Research in Communication and Technology) cannot be used to fulfill the course requirements. Here’s a description of the course:

Course overview: Introduction to quantitative and qualitative approaches for conducting research into technology-mediated communications. Guides students in their topic selection and development for their culminating project.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the necessity and process of grounding research questions and methodologies within a body of scientific literature
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the differences and similarities between two main research approaches – qualitative and quantitative
  • Become familiar with a number of specific data collection methods
  • Explore the research process and scientific method
  • Focused the students’ research question for the applied research project, its relation to the appropriate literature, and a choice of suitable research methods.

I find this odd for two reasons:

  1. The COMM 501 course is very heavy on research methods and theory, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods.
  2. Both the CBRE certificate program and the MACT program are under the same Faculty. If anything, the two programs should work together to accommodate and benefit both sides.

Potential Benefits

For MACT students: Additional course work seems like a good supplement to a graduate degree, especially for students in the MACT program whose final research project is community focussed.

For the MACT Program: Students complete additional course work that could be applied to the MACT key competenices

For the CBRE Program: Potentially more students working towards the certificate.  More students from different fields would benefit CBRE and achieve the goals of the program

If any MACT students are interested in putting together a case to get COMM 501 accepted as an approved course, I’d be happy to help. I don’t have interest in completing the certificate any time soon, but figured there might be some interest among current and future MACT students.

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