The Structure And Function of (Academic) Research In South-West Manitoba In Relation To Faith-Based R.C.D.

Not all research conducted in South-West Manitoba is directly related to Rural Community Development. Much of it is made up of contributions to the general pool of world knowledge, from which people in Westman may also draw.

Brandon University and Assinaboine Community College both have programs relating to Rural Community Development, and the program at BU is especially active in its research component. Rural Community Development research at BU is augmented by the presence of the Rural Development Institute on campus, the undergrad Rural Studies Program and the graduate level Masters and Diploma in Rural Development.

Rural Development Institutes are located in four regions across Canada:

  1. The Maritimes (to address the fishing and related issues
  2. Southern Ontario (to address the issues of S. Ont. agriculture and Resource extraction)
  3. Westman (to address the agriculture and resource extraction issues of Northern Bush, Southern Prairie and the 200 mile wide band of Aspen Parkland between them, stretching from Winnipeg to Edmonton.
  4. British Columbia (to address the issues of West Coast fishing and interior resource extraction in mountains and coastland.

Not all RCD research conducted in Westman needs to be University centered. In fact, much of the training of Masters students is designed to help them to help their community members to initiate and conduct much of their own research where possible.

This section of my web-site is designed to help you, my colleagues in ministry, to understand the structure and operation of academic research in Westman, so as to integrate your work with that of the university community. It is my hope that these pages will help you to take your current research skills and develop them in helping your congregations to conduct the research they need in order to minister to your communities.

One of the most important things you can do when facing the need for some sort of research relating to Rural Community Development is to "situate" yourself (as the qualitative researchers like to phrase it) in relation to the academic community and its various groupings. It is very easy to become sidelined by yourself or others once research projects come to the front, and lose your "voice" at the table. Everyone has a unique contribution to any given discussion, and the presence of "researchers" should result in the augmenting, not the loss of it.

In order to be conscious of your own voice (contribution) in the conversation, it is sometimes helpful to know where the other players are coming from, and to know their relative perspectives on any given issue. In that way, you will be able to see which parts are missing and need to be brought forward. Being aware of the limitations of any research process, and the strengths of the ones you can bring to bear, helps not to be intimidated by others who are sometimes very adamant that their perspective is the most significant one.

What follows is a conceptual map of the research establishment in South West Manitoba, particularly as it pertains to Rural Community Development. I have attempted to give a larger picture than what is conventionally given in RCD literature in order to open up as may research options as possible as new situations often call for new approaches, or a mixture of approaches not tried before. For an excellent brief article on the rationale for this, (albeit from an action-research perspective) see Bob Dick's article on choosing action research.

In addition to the conceptual map, you will also need to think through what research skills you already have, and what they help you to bring forward to such discussions. As the primary research tools ministers generally bring to the table are ones related to Biblical Research, I have included a section on situating this skill-set in relation to the other research methods in relation to Faith-Based R.C.D.


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Choices In Research Design And Process

Research From the Point of View of The Academic Disciplines In Westman

The Academic Disciplines In Westman

The academic disciplines outlined here are primarily the ones represented at Brandon University. Some additional diciplines are included because they appear frequently in the research literature, especially in regards to qualitative methods.

  1. The Humanities (*)
  2. The Social Sciences (*)
  3. The Natural Sciences (*)
  4. Inter-disciplinary Interests (*)
  5. The Professions (*)

Qualitative Research (referred to here as "Q" Research) In Westman

Quantitative Research (Referred to here as "Q1" Research) In Westman

Offline Resources

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