Examining how research knowledge is shared in the Slave River Delta

Regions: South Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, knowledge transfer, research communication

Principal Investigator: Steelman, Toddi (1)
Licence Number: 15832
Organization: University of Saskatchewan
Licenced Year(s): 2016
Issued: Jan 29, 2016
Project Team: Kiri Staples (Project Manager, University of Saskatchewan), Jennifer Fresque-Baxter (Co-supervisor , Government of Northwest Territories - Environment and Natural Resources), Eddy McKay (Community Co-ordinator , Delta Dialogue Network )

Objective(s): To explore how water research and monitoring information is shared within the communities of Fort Resolution and Fort Smith and identify community-preferred best practices for knowledge sharing.

Project Description: The overall purpose of this project, based on direction from the Slave River Delta Partnership (SRDP), is to explore how water research and monitoring information is shared within the communities of Fort Resolution and Fort Smith and identify community-preferred best practices for knowledge sharing.

There are four main objectives:
1) look at the different ways information is currently being shared in projects in the Slave River and Delta (what is being done right now);
2) examine community and researcher perspectives on what is working, what isn’t working and what could work better;
3) look at where these perspectives are similar and where they are different to help identify potential barriers and opportunities for improving knowledge sharing strategies for research and monitoring projects; and,
4) collaborate with partners and participants to develop a series of “best practices” in knowledge sharing to guide future research and monitoring projects.

There are two main methods that this project will use to collect data. The first is a survey with researchers. Individuals who have recently lead a water-related research project in the Slave River Delta will be contacted by e-mail and telephone. They will be asked if they want to participate in a survey that can be completed over the phone or online. This survey should take about 30 minutes to complete. After all of the surveys are completed, researchers will be asked if they would like to participate in an online focus group to discuss its findings. The second method that will be used is a focus group. Small focus groups made up of 5-7 people will be held in Fort Resolution and Fort Smith. With the help of a community coordinator and high school research assistants, the groups will be made up of people in the community who have either participated in or are aware of research projects. Discussions will last about 2-3 hours, and will be about people's experiences and perspectives on research projects in the delta and how information related to these projects is shared. These discussions will be recorded with a small audio recorder. Once all of the focus groups have taken place and the information from them compiled, the research team will hold a workshop in both communities. This will give participants a chance to discuss and reflect on the findings of the research. They will also have the opportunity to talk about what the most appropriate final product for this project should be.

This project has the potential influence practices around how research is carried out and communicated in the Slave River Delta. The project has been, and will continue to be, directed by the Slave River and Delta Partnership. The focus of this research is in direct response to concerns raised by the SRDP members. The research team will be talking to community members who have either participated in or are aware of research projects in their community. This will be an opportunity for them to discuss their experiences and perspectives on research in the delta. In addition, a community coordinator based in Fort Resolution has already been identified. The community coordinator will play an important role in connecting researchers and community members. There will also be an opportunity for four high school students (two in Fort Smith and two in Fort Resolution) to help with data collection. They will be trained in social science research methods and community based research. The four high school will be given an introduction to social science research methods and research ethics.

Communication with SRDP members has been ongoing from the beginning of the project, and will continue at every stage of the research process. Participants in the focus groups will have the chance to review and interpret the results of this project in a workshop. At this workshop, participants will discuss how the final results can most effectively be shared with the broader community. Because the focus of this project is on sharing research knowledge, the research team aim to share the results of this work in the most effective and locally relevant ways as possible. While the final deliverable will be determined collaboratively with the SRDP, project summaries will be written and translated, then provided to SRDP members and other local organizations for distribution. These summaries will also be available on the Delta Dialogue Network website - http://www.usask.ca/research-groups/ddn/. Additionally, the community coordinator based in Fort Resolution will play a crucial role in communicating results.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 1, 2016 to March 18, 2016.