Science in a Circle©: Forming “Community Links” to Conduct Health Research in Partnership with Communities





Scientists have historically conducted research activity in First Nations communities
in a manner that, although often unintentional, frequently offended and provided little benefit to communities. The Science in a Circle© research model was developed as one way for scientists to respectfully engage in a beneficial research partnership with First Nations communities.

The research model is based on values of mutual respect, caring, honesty, and amicable communication. The foundation of the Science in a Circle© model is centred on the establishment of cooperative research partnerships or “community links” between university scientists and First Nation community members. “Community links” are fostered through scheduled face-to-face meetings, between all research partners: community members, youth, Elders, students, and scientists. In-person connections provide opportunities for discussions that develop respectful research protocols focused on addressing issues relevant and meaningful to First Nations communities. As a collective
group, scientists and community incorporate cultural knowledge into the planning, methodology and policy, participant recruitment, and capacity building strategies of the research agenda. Using the elements of this research model, research activity fostered and developed through continuous respectful dialogue between research partners, is intended to provide benefits to all partners — the communities, scientists, and students — at every step within the research process.

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