Research in the public interest.
Research is a way of systematically gathering, analyzing, and communicating information. Although much of academic research is done for knowledge alone, research has the potential to help people who are working for social and environmental change to:
- understand the root causes of social and environmental problems
- analyze and evaluate actions taken in the past, and strategically plan for the future
- communicate information to the public and decision-makers
- challenge misinformation
Because environmental and social problems require community action, VIPIRG does community-based research. As in activism, we choose research tools to fit the specific issue being explored and the research needs of the communities we are working with, rather than defaulting to a specific methodology (such as participatory action research) or method of collecting data.
Because of the on-going history of colonial oppression and appropriation of Indigenous knowledges, there is no doubt that western-based research practices have exploited, silenced, and been used to justify harmful policies, practices and actions against Indigenous Peoples. For these reasons, VIPIRG also engages in Indigenous based research, under the direction of Indigenous staff at VIPIRG.
Whatever the research design, all research conducted by VIPIRG staff, students, or volunteers must respect community values, Indigenous rights, and environmental and ecological standards. Our ethical guidelines lay out expectations for all students, staff, and volunteers involved in VIPIRG research projects.
VIPIRG’s research resources
Research Coordinator Seb Bonet and student research assistants do original research on community social issues related to poverty such as homelessness, harm reduction, impacts of the Olympics, access to dental care, housing, the welfare system, and cruise ships.
Students and community members participating in VIPIRG research get training, mentorship, and hands-on research experience.