Why establish a research protocol?
Research work may be a key component of your Indigenous Guardian program or it may be work that is primarily initiated and conducted by outside individuals and organizations. Either way, try to benefit from any local and relevant research. By taking a deliberate and proactive approach, your program can shape the research agenda, influence how the work is conducted, and determine who needs to be involved in conducting research work. At a minimum, try to be aware of all research that is being conducted on your lands and waters.
Start by identifying your research needs and priorities. Then identify any community or cultural requirements for research work to be undertaken. Build these formally into your program plans, policies and protocols and ensure these expectations are regularly referenced and all research is held to account.
If possible, develop a clear research protocol that requires researchers to secure consent before proceeding with research. The protocol should strive to articulate expectations around:
- How research is conducted.
- How the community will be involved and benefit.
- How research findings and analyses will be shared and communicated.
A research protocol can be extremely helpful in establishing expectations and building a solid foundation of respect, trust and mutual understanding between researchers and the community.
The Worksheet "Developing a Research Protocol" provides some helpful questions to think through. And there are several links below to research protocols developed by other communities.