A community research model developed in the UK was adopted in a multi-country interdisciplinary study of health and welfare in superdiverse neighbourhoods. The model involves training a diverse group of community members in qualitative research methods, and engaging them in research in their own community. In Uppsala, Sweden, five community researchers were recruited to facilitate access to diverse groups in the two study neighbourhoods, including ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities.
After training, community researchers recruited study participants from the study neighbourhoods, and assisted during interviews. Their local networks, and knowledge about the neighbourhoods were invaluable for contextualising the study and finding participants. However, they were not able to recruit participants from certain groups due to language barriers, and it was difficult to retain community researchers in the project. The study took place in the context of an unprecedented number of asylum-seekers arriving in Sweden, which took up many collaborators' time.
Various contextual factors made it difficult to fully apply this particular model of community research in the Swedish setting. Employing several people on short-term contracts is complicated as Swedish Universities are public authorities. Other aspects of Swedish culture and the labour market, such as strong expectations of stable full-time employment, make flexible part-time work undesirable.
The community research model was only partly successful in embedding the research project as a collaboration between community members and the University. While there was interest and some short-term involvement from residents of study neighbourhoods, the research remained University-led with limited sense of community ownership.
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