BRIDGING COMMUNITIES: Foundations for the interchange of ideas

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Journal Article
Information Communication and Society, 2012, 15 (7), pp. 1055 - 1080
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Research undertaken with one's own community can be complex and demanding. It can also be valuable and fulfilling. Those who take on this challenge must often straddle variant roles, values, and perspectives with the potential for the strictures and structures of the academic community to be at odds with those of the partner community in research endeavours. These 'double insiders' can be valued for their bridging capacity and insight. However, they are also likely to be called upon to negotiate or mediate expectations, tensions, and differences between the research partners. This paper takes a new approach to a complex issue that is being increasingly discussed inside the academy by employing an autoethnographical approach to examine, holistically, this kind of researcher positioning. This paper brings together researchers from three very different community contexts - women with breast cancer, Records Continuum researchers and practitioners, and Indigenous Australian communities - each pursuing diverse research projects related to information technology and recordkeeping. The recounting of each researcher's story and the subsequent shared discussion of key issues that emerge from each story relating to research design, reflexivity, and reciprocity offer new insights and considerations for frameworks addressing community-based research. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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