Saturday, January 14, 2023: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Maryvale B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods
Cal Halvorsen, PhD, Boston College
Patrick Ho Lam Lai, MSW, Boston College, Samantha Teixeira, PhD, Boston College, Kerri Evans, PhD, University of Maryland Baltimore County and María F. Pineros-Leano, PhD, Boston College
As part of our profession, many social work researchers focus on documenting, understanding, ameliorating, and--importantly--solving society's most intractable social problems through community-based research. Conducting this research within an increasingly diverse country across race, ethnicity, language, and culture can present both opportunities and challenges. Community-based research can be especially challenging when attempting to work with minoritized communities, particularly when relationships between the researchers and communities are new or nonexistent and when researchers are "outsiders" to the communities. Further, the quality of the research, including the clarity of communication with community members and the trust built over time, can have a direct effect on the quality of results and the usefulness of the findings and research products to the communities themselves. In this roundtable, we will provide examples from four recent community-based research studies to answer the following question: How can social work scholars conduct high-quality research in communities across languages and cultures that leads to positive researcher-community trust and relationships? We will describe how we planned our studies and how they were perceived, what implementation challenges we encountered and how we addressed them, and the key opportunities, benefits, and specific takeaways from these studies with the goal to inform future community-based social work scholarship across languages and cultures. We will first provide an overview of a survey of low-income older workers in a federal job-training program, describing the use of a pilot study and key-informant interviews to develop a survey in English, translate it into five languages, and collaborate with gatekeepers to build trust and engage with participants. We will then outline the planning and implementation of a mixed-methods study of community members across the life course in a public housing complex undergoing a major redevelopment, describing the strengths and challenges of working with community cultural brokers, with particular attention to building alliances with residents and service providers across racial/ethnic groups and the establishment of a community advisory board inclusive of residents, service providers, and housing staff. Next, we will summarize the development of a study to document and assess higher education-related needs and aspirations of recent refugees, describing the importance of community advisory boards in building trust. Our final example will illustrate the development of a study of Puerto Rican migrants to Florida after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, describing the importance of reflecting key differences within shared languages by region of origin when developing survey questions as well as engaging community members in study design. We will then facilitate a discussion that seeks participants' own experiences conducting research across languages and cultures and provide further lessons learned from our own work. Working alongside communities is an integral aspect of social work scholarship, and being mindful of differences and similarities across languages and cultures can lead to more engaged participants and sustainable, mutually beneficial research partnerships. Through our examples and group discussion, attendees will learn skills and possible pitfalls when it comes to forging partnerships to plan and conduct community-based research when working with groups different from themselves.
See more of: Roundtables