Research Outcomes

Case studies were chosen to show the explicit (and implicit) links among and between the 3 substantive “pillars” of the research project--networks, social capital and sustainable development.

Following methodological precedents in the social sciences, (see e.g. Stake, 1996), each case may be contextually and functionally unique (as opposed to shared across sectors). Indeed, there is a strong methodological argument to be made for the study of each case as a distinct learning opportunity, one that is important precisely because of its uniqueness. Yet all cases will be focused around the organising principle of networks, in differing contexts and for varying purposes/outcomes. That each case be composed of identifiable networks is key: networks are the common underlying characteristic. Cases should be selected according to key issues or qualities having to do with the formation and organisation of each respective network. For example, how was the network formed? According to which crises or opportunities? Was the network formed proactively, for policy, e.g. or in response to a crisis? Notwithstanding the unique context and substantive “content” of each case as a learning (through research) opportunity, networks and their concomitant cases should share several other key criteria, or at least be able to be situated (and “mapped”) along an identifiable continuum for each criterion. These criteria reflect the larger scope of the research project and its links to social capital and SD. These shared criteria and their continua are:

  • Leadership: presence of identifiable leadership (from single to collaborative)
  • Enthusiasm: participant enthusiasm and motivation, degree of engagement (e.g. from apathy to highly driven)
  • Scale: clarity of a single issue or multiple related issues
  • Evolution: traceable organisational evolution, from pre-network to multi-scale network of networks. Evolution in any case should move beyond the bonding level and show org. evolution of goals, mandate, leadership etc. to be valid for study.
  • Intervention: identifiable timing and degree of government intervention
  • Diversity: 1. degree of observable or identifiable diversity of leaders and engaged participants, from visible minorities, gender balance etc. Power balance in network decision-making was not discussed but remains and open question. 2. Diversity of case types, e.g. government and non-government.
  • Outcome: continuity of the network, from planned obsolescence to self-perpetuation
  • Evaluation: observable (explicit or implicit) attempts to evaluate successes and/or failures, measures for self-evaluation or by an external agency (rare)
  • Feasibility/Pragmatism: cases must be accessible, feasible and “researchable” from a functional perspective. Distance, cost, background data accessibility, and openness of key leaders/participants are all factors to be considered for this criterion.  

The Community Research Connections dynamic website is a project of the Canada Research Chair (2004-2014) and was released in October 2006. 


RESEARCH TOOLS
Canadian municipalities are in the unique position of being at the forefront for realizing sustainable development in communities across Canada. To assist communities, particularly smaller and medium-sized ones, to develop their own INTEGRATED COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY PLAN we have developed a plan template describing what should be in such a plan as well as an active community engagement strategy designed to ensure implementation. Embedded in the plan template are additional research and practitioner links for your reference.


RESEARCH SURVEY
The Community Liveability Survey / Sondage sur la vie en collectivité was uniquely designed for Canadians to compare and contrast their community's socialability, sustainability and their capacity to make changes towards more sustainable community development.