Genuinely collaborative research invites participants to contribute to all stages of research, including conducting the research, considering its real-life implications, and figuring out where it can be applied. Working together as Co/LAB, we have begun a collaborative ethnography–a descriptive analysis of foodways and foodscapes in San Diego that draws simultaneously on the power of neighborhood-level organizing and the strengths of qualitative and quantitative community-based research. Our research process builds a place-specific, participatory approach by employing several social science research methods and exploring how community participation changes and can improve these methods. Because we aim to democratize research–that is, to make research relevant and available to the folks who are doing the hard work of fixing the problems that they see in their communities–the whole process involves learning together and applying what we learn along the way.
Below you will find links to descriptions of the research methods, how we are using them, how we share these methods with community partners, and the unfolding story about how Foodways & Foodscapes continues to evolve as a living example of community based participatory research.