Timing Community Work

Posted on January 14, 2008

Jeannette R. Ickovics (bio) advises analyzing department culture before beginning community-based research.

 

Within your departments you need to really be thinking about also what is valued and how it’s valued. If you are in a very traditional department where tightly-controlled laboratory research is what is most highly valued, then you may need to wait to go out into those unsettled and more uncontrolled community environments, and that may be part of the evolution. It does take longer to do multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary work; it does take longer to work with community partners. At the end of the day I think we have a better product, but you need to think about what’s going to work for you in your department and at what time in your career you’re able to do that. I am senior enough now where I have a lot of freedom and flexibility to do that. I don’t think I could do — I’m quite certain I couldn’t do fifteen years ago or ten years ago what I’m doing now.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in September 2007.

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