TrentU Master’s Candidate Emily Amon studies the effectiveness of Community Based Research

Emily Amon is a passionate community-based researcher.

She has completed THREE environmental science community research projects during her Bachelor of Environmental Sciences and Studies undergraduate degree at Trent.

Her current project as a Masters of Sustainabilities Studies Candidate at Trent University is focused on community-based research. This type of research involves working with a diverse range of partners to help gather different perspectives, contribute expertise and share decision making.  

Kawartha Celebration of Research

Emily is exploring how student research can be used to drive community activism and influence sustainable community changes.  At the heart of all social and environmental movements, groups of people have worked together to achieve common goals.  It is important to understand the process of how people band together to create meaningful changes. 

Community groups with research needs are partnered with Trent students to complete community-based research projects through Trent’s experiential education programs, facilitated by both U-Links Centre for Community Based Research (for projects in the Haliburton Region), and the Trent Community Research Centre (for projects in the Peterborough Region).

Students have completed a wide variety of projects with far reaching impacts from:
  • Waste audits at the landfills in Algonquin highlands that led to a new recycling program
  • Water quality monitoring projects which have engaged cottagers and improved awareness of environmental concerns around their lakes
  • The establishment of community gardens and nature education programs
  • Improving operations for the local farmers markets

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Emily’s research focuses on what happens to the community after the student completes the research and how positive changes continue in the area. 

She wanted to find out answers to the below questions:

  • How do these partnerships create mutual benefits for students and the broader community?
  • Are these projects leading to meaningful sustainable developments and/or change?

To conduct her research, Emily embedded herself in the Haliburton community.

She interviewed past project hosts (community organizations that have had projects completed by Trent students) to hear how they used the results of the projects. She evaluated the effectiveness of the impacts that the U-Links program has had on the broader Haliburton Community.

Site Visit at Abbey Gardens

Her preliminary results have shown that student research can have huge impacts in driving sustainable changes!

In the Haliburton Region, the waste audits, water quality project, community garden installations and the farmer’s market assessment have created a lasting sense of community, educated residents on their environmental impacts, and led to new innovative solutions.

Organizations need to know that they are creating positive changes – and a research project can allow the organization to reflect on findings from an academic perspective.

Many organizations simply don’t have the capacity to do research, but community-based research-driven policy is extremely important to involve various stakeholders. 

Community-based research is all about relationship building and seeing yourself as a positive driver of change.

with the moores

Emily’s research helps support the value of stepping out of academic bubbles and engaging with the community to put their issues first. 

Research can drive action AND sustainable change!

Emily says,

“Being at Trent provided me with the opportunity to access hands-on, actionable community-based research opportunities through the Trent Community Research Centre and U-Links Centre for Community Based Research.  This gave me an incredibly vast network of connections with community organizations and important job-based skills, while allowing me to become engaged in helping real people answer pressing issues of concern!”

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Emily’s research is supported by the following organizations/agencies:

             ulinks logo      CFICE logo

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