How Does Engaged Scholarship Compare with Traditional (Discovery) Scholarship?

August 2, 2012
  • Bowen, S. J., & Graham, I. D. (2012). From knowledge translation to engaged scholarship: Promoting research relevance and utilization. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(1, Supplement 1), S3-S8.

    • To date, most efforts to translate research into health care practice have had only modest success. In response to this, the authors summarize what is known about moving knowledge into action, and the implications for rehabilitation medicine. There is increasing evidence that simple knowledge transfer alone is rarely effective. Instead, if research is to be used, it must answer important questions of concern to knowledge users, and it must be integrated with contextual evidence in order to become actionable in a specific setting. This type of research requires genuine participation of knowledge users (i.e. managers, practitioners, and patients) starting at the beginning of the research process. Thus, the authors conclude that the field needs to provide greater incentives for this type of collaborative research.
  • Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium’s Community Engagement Key Function Committee and the CTSA Community Engagement Workshop Planning Committee (2008). Researchers and their communities: The challenge of meaningful community engagement.
    • A summary of the best practices emerging from a series of national and regional workshops on community engagement held in five U.S. cities between May 2007 and October 2008.  The article, written in almost a newsletter format, critically examines previous roles and practices of Academic Health Centers, moves into definitions and illustrations of engaged scholarship in the field and offers recommendations for future practice. Definitions given and models illustrated have relevance and applicability far beyond the health fields.
  • Furco, A. (2002). A comparison of traditional scholarship and the scholarship of engagement. In Anderson J. & Douglass, J.A. et al, Promoting civic engagement at the University of California: Recommendations from the strategy group on civic and academic engagement (p. 10). Berkeley, CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education. The full report can found at
    • In this University of California report Furco offers a useful chart that compares views on traditional scholarship of discovery and on scholarship of engagement along six dimensions. He suggests that scholarship of engagement must satisfy criteria related to the traditional views and also additional ones having to do with direct application to broader public issues, community impact, and that it is reviewed and validated by qualified peers in the community.
  • Jordan, C. (Ed.). (2007). Community-engaged scholarship review, promotion & tenure package. Peer Review Workgroup, Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health Collaborative, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. (especially pp. 5-10)
    • This document delineates eight characteristics of quality and significant community-engaged scholarship: clear academic and community change goals, adequate preparation in content area and grounding in the community, appropriate academic and community methods, significant impact on disciplinary knowledge and the community, effective presentation and dissemination to academic and community audiences, reflective technique, contribution to the national engagement movement, and consistently ethical behavior.
  • McDonald, M.A. Powerpoint presentation: Practicing community-engaged research. Duke University.
    • A community-engaged research approach can enable researchers to strengthen the links between research and practice and enhance translational results. To practice community-engaged research one needs to re-think the relationship of research and researchers to communities. The presentation distinguishes traditional from community-engaged research, with a focus on community-based participatory research. It addresses how to incorporate community-based approaches into traditional research and how the community can contribute to and strengthen research.

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