Participation

National Standards for Community Engagement

Scottish Community Development Centre. (n.d.). National Standards for Community EngagementCommunities Scotland. 

The Scottish Community Development Centre developed this set of national standards as a means of assuring good public process between communities and agencies. The standards are seen as a fundamental part of community planning while acknowledging the importance of increasing inclusion of minorities and disadvantaged populations. The standards were originally developed in 2005 and have been in wide use in Scotland. The standards address how organizations with a public-interest focus can improve: involvement of stakeholders, overcoming barriers in participation, project planning, methods assessment, team collaboration, information sharing practices, implementing feedback mechanisms, and more. There is a focus on measuring indicators and community-led action research though implementation guidelines are lacking.

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IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation

International Association of Public Participation, Spectrum of Public Participation, poster.

Created by the International Association of Public Participation, this chart helps scaffold the process for increasing meaningful engagement by addressing the goals, public communication, and example participation techniques. IAP2 is an international organization for knowledge sharing and capacity building of best practices for public participation. This straightforward graphic is based off of the Arnstein’s ladder of public participation and includes the categories of: inform, consult, involve, collaborate, empower. While this graphic does not provide any practical guidelines, it presents a clear framework for thinking about the work of public participation and can be a useful reference point.

Getting your Data: Community Mapping

Research for Organizing. (2011-2016). “Getting your Data: Community Mapping.” Website.

Mapping is the visual representation of data by geography or location, the linking of information to place.  Community mapping does this in order to support social and economic change on a community level. Mapping is a powerful tool in two ways: (1) it makes patterns based on place much easier to identify and analyze and (2) it provides a visual way of communicating those patterns to a broad audience, quickly and dramatically. This website has activities, training, sample canvassing sheets, case studies, and other concrete tools to help begin community mapping.

Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research

Tuck, E. and K.W. Yang. (2014a). Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry 20 (6): 811-818.

This paper examines ‘refusal’ as an anti-colonial method for analyzing and communicating research data. The researchers draw on the work of Indigenous scholars, to argue that so-called ‘objective’ methods of ethnographic data analysis are colonial in that they reduce individuals and experiences to ‘objects’ that are extracted and claimed by the academy. Specifically, the authors assume that: 1) Studies focusing on the pain of marginalized groups are exploitative and unhelpful; 2) That there are some forms of knowledge that should be kept out of the academy; and 3) Research might not be the most appropriate intervention to a given situation. Using these points as a guide, the article provides concrete examples of how refusal can be incorporated into research design (to focus on institutions and power, rather than the ‘social problems’ of marginalized groups), data collection (being attentive to the refusals made by study participants) and analysis (to refuse to report these refusals within the academy).

What do we mean by decolonizing research strategies?

Zavala, M. (2013). What do we mean by decolonizing research strategies? Lessons from decolonizing, Indigenous research projects in New Zealand and Latin America. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society 2 (1): 55-71.

This methodology paper draws on previous texts about decolonizing methodologies and the author’s own experiences as an Indigenous researcher and activist to argue that decolonization is less about method and more about providing space for Indigenous people and voices. Zavala examines several grassroots Participatory Action Research (PAR) projects, which he describes as spaces that occlude colonial, academic decision making practices. He then contrasts the PAR research methods advocated for by Tuhiwai Smith with those that he engages with in Latin America. While the two approaches to PAR engage in very different, traditional vs non-traditional, research methods, they have similar decolonial outcomes in that they place Indigenous sovereignty at the centre of decision-making practices. He concludes by stating that decolonial research is not contingent on a given method but requires always honouring the perspectives and interests of the communities and individuals being studied. Zavala’s analysis suggests that it is possible for settler and university-affiliated researchers to engage in decolonial work. How this is done must be decided through ongoing collaboration and consultation with communities and individual research participants.

On conflict and consensus: A handbook on formal consensus decisionmaking

Butler, C. L., & Rothstein, A. (2007). On conflict and consensus: A handbook on formal consensus decisionmaking. Creative Commons.

From the text: Formal Consensus is a specific kind of decision-making. It must be defined by the group using it. It provides a foundation, structure, and collection of techniques for efficient and productive group discussions. The foundation is the commonly-held principles and decisions which created the group originally. The structure is predetermined, although flexible. The agenda is formal and extremely important. The roles, techniques, and skills necessary for smooth operation must be accessible to and developed in all members. Evaluation of the process must happen on a consistent and frequent basis, as a tool for self-education and self-management. Above all, Formal Consensus must be taught. It is unreasonable to expect people to be familiar with this process already. In general, cooperative nonviolent conflict resolution does not exist in modern North American society. These skills must be developed in what is primarily a competitive environment. Only time will tell if, in fact, this model will flourish and prove itself effective and worthwhile.

Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management

Margerum, R. D., & others. (2011). Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management, MIT Press: Cambridge Mass.

This book highlights severali mportant parts of conducting a consensus meeting which is getting the right people into the group, how the participants are collaborating, and effective product generated from consensus.These chapters go in to great detail on each of these topics and cite numerous case studies as evidence of what to do, and what not to do.  This book is useful because it shows real world examples of many of the problems that can arise from convening a consensus meeting.  It illustrates that the consensus meeting starts long before the group sits down to collaborate and its results may effect projects for years after.  The case studies are from a range of governmental management and the focus of this book is how to have consensus meeting have a tangible effect on management and policy.