Introductory guide to Engaged Research

This guide intends to provide valuable information for academics, researchers and students who wish to engage in research in a real-world context.


  1. What is Engaged Research?
  2. Resources


What is Engaged Research?

In Engaged Research, students and staff collaborate and co-create with community partners on research that identifies and addresses real community identified needs and challenges. Research with the community and not research on the community.

Research plays a critical role in the creation of knowledge and advocating for change. The big question to be asked however is how responsive this knowledge created through research has been to having an impact on societal challenges. Did the research process include all stakeholders affected by the issue under investigation and were the methods used inclusive.  

Engaged Research is research that is responsive to societal challenges and contributes to the public good ie ultimately has impact. Engaged Research methodologies and approaches focus on collaborative engagement with the community during the research process with the ultimate aim of co-creating new knowledge and bringing about change. Locally responsive and globally engaged. 


“Engaged research includes the different ways that researchers meaningfully interact or collaborate with various stakeholders over any or all stages of a research process, from issue formulation, the production or co-creation of new knowledge, to knowledge evaluation and dissemination. Stakeholders may include target communities, and members of the public or groups that are somehow related to the research process.”

- Stellenbosch University


“Engaged research describes a wide range of rigorous research approaches and methodologies that share a common interest in collaborative engagement with the community and aim to improve, understand or investigate an issue of public interest or concern, including societal challenges.”

Irish Research Council


Resources for Engaged Research 

Engaged Research at Rhodes University - RU policies on CE, Promotions, Ethics Committee

Rhodes University Institutional planning documents

Rhodes University Policy and procedure for the personal promotion of academic staff

Rhodes University Research Ethics Policy for Human Participants


Key, K. D., Furr-Holden, D., Yvonne Lewis, E., Cunningham, R., Zimmerman, M. A., Johnson-Lawrence, V., & Selig, S. (2019). The continuum of community engagement in research: A roadmap for understanding and assessing progress. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13(4).

Tandon et al. (2016). Chapter 2: Theoretical Pedagogical Framework for Community Based Research. In Tandon et al (eds.) Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers, pp 7-39. UNESCO Chair CBR-SR and PRIA. 

Holliman, Richard (2017). Supporting excellence in engaged research. Journal of Science Communication, 16(5) pp. 1–10.

Mosavel, M., Simon, C., van Stade, D., Buchbinder, M. 2005. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) in South Africa: Engaging multiple constituents to shape the research question. Soc Sci Med, 61(12): 2577 -2587. Available at: doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.04.041.  




Last Modified: Tue, 14 Feb 2023 11:10:59 SAST