History of ENGAGE
This site was created out of a desire to provide tools that will help health researchers involve individuals and communities that are “silent” or poorly represented in traditional study designs. By sharing visual methods and methods developed by community partners, Engage hopes to promote the engagement of individuals and communities affected by social inequalities, poverty or precariousness, social exclusion and low literacy
Content of the website
The ENGAGE website provides accessible tools and resources that enable community members and populations experiencing social exclusion, as well as practitioners and researchers, to take ownership of methods that promote research engagement and participation. It offers modules on participatory and visual methods – Problem tree, River of life, Mapping, Digital storytelling, Walking methodologies, Photo-novellas, Photovoice, Podcast – that were developed by researchers and community organizations based on a literature review and interviews with actors who have been engaged in participatory research.
The ENGAGE site is created in partnership with community organizations that have expertise in action research and with several Canadian and international researchers in an effort to foster reflexivity and community engagement of people experiencing social exclusion in society and in research.
This ENGAGE site is being developed to bring academic and university health research closer to the needs of community members living with social exclusion and/or experiencing literacy challenges. It is intended to be an inclusive web tool intended primarily, but not exclusively, for researchers working in health and public health research. It contains a wealth of information that can be used to start a research project centred on participatory and/or visual methods that promote the engagement and participation of the community members who are typically most excluded from research.
The purpose of the website
The ENGAGE website aims to support the research engagement of individuals and communities affected by social inequalities, precariousness or poverty, social exclusion, and low literacy. These people are under-represented or sometimes instrumentalized in traditional research designs.
Its purpose is to:
- reduce barriers to the active and authentic involvement and participation in health research of community members and populations experiencing social exclusion.
- equip practitioners and researchers to use research methods that promote the engagement in health research of community members and populations living with social exclusion and/or experiencing literacy challenges
- enable community members and populations experiencing social exclusion in health research to develop skills that enable them to be involved in the production of scientific knowledge that concerns them.
ENGAGE is founded on the following principles:
- Equity. Engage in research together for better health equity and use research as a lever to reduce social inequalities in health
- Equitable participation. Avoid “incidental” or superficial participation of community members that leads to instrumentalization of people’s experiences. Participatory or community-based research is a powerful lever to develop knowledge and transform practices by involving people with literacy challenges.
- De-hierarchizing research. This principle is inspired by the concept of “decolonization” developed by Smith. It refers to the importance of abolishing hierarchies in research work, of collaborating on an equal footing. “De-hierarchizing” research takes into account the knowledge and expertise developed by communities to foster reflexivity and engagement.