We’re partnering with the Good Shepherd Centre to develop evidence-based programming

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Good Shepherd Centre (GSC) is a community-based organization in Toronto that provides a variety of services for people who are experiencing homelessness or who are precariously housed. GSC partnered with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health and our Survey Research Unit to find out the degree to which gambling was a problem for the people they serve. The process sparked a long-term partnership and generated clear, actionable information.

In our new report, ‘From research to reality: informing a response to gambling at the Good Shepherd Centre,’ we share study results. More importantly, we document the process of our research partnership, and share tips for collaborations between community agencies and researchers. The report can be downloaded here. Tips include:

For community agencies

  • If a researcher approaches you, consult with stakeholders to make sure the proposed research has the potential to be useful to the community you serve. (The best way to define and consult with stakeholders is an open question, and will depend on your context.)
  • Some questions to ask researchers: how will the study be conducted, what resources will you need to contribute, and what happens to the information at the end of the process (who owns it, where will it be kept, and how will it be communicated)?
  • Be prepared to develop a response to what you find out through the research study. This might involve staff training, engaging partner agencies, new program and/or advocacy initiatives.

For researchers

  • Consider formulating research questions and creating the study design in partnership with the community agency and potential research participants.
  • Leave lots of time to build understanding between researchers, the community agency and community representatives, and to generate mutual research goals and explore methodologies.
  • Note that community agencies and communities aren’t always the same thing. While many community agencies do a great job representing the people they serve, sometimes the interests of community agencies and community members differ. While this did not occur with the Good Shepherd study, researchers might be called upon to share results that contradict the point of view of community agencies and/or funders.

For a full list of tips, see the full report.

Read abstract of journal article about our study here.

Read a related media release from St. Michael’s Hospital here.

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