This publication offers a starting point for “how” we can begin to level the playing field and reckon with unintended bias when it comes to research. Chicago Beyond created this guidebook to help shift the power dynamic and the way community organizations, researchers, and funders uncover knowledge together. It is an equity-based approach to research that offers one way in which we can restore communities as authors and owners. It is based on the steps and missteps of Chicago Beyond’s own experience funding community organizations and research, and the courageous and patient efforts of our partners, the youth they serve, and others with whom we have learned. 

Why Am I Always Being Researched? is one contribution to the collective work of envisioning a more equitable world. It is not intended to be used to generate shame, judgment, or performance. It is not a measuring stick to prove one point of view is “greater than” or “less than”, or that one individual or group is “the problem.” The practice embraces voices furthest from institutional power as intrinsically valuable. This is not about embracing community voice when it is a means to an end—completing a checklist, improving a reputation, helping in a grant application—and being unwilling to listen when voices are not saying what we wish to hear. Please do not weaponize the principles here. Freedom lies in the other direction. This is a journey towards more authentic truths. For all of us. Starting with us. This is about ourselves, noticing differently, standing in relationship differently, taking actions within our control, however small or big, and seeing the next step unfold to us. Let us encourage one another, and look for the joy in this journey. There is a lot of it.

Chicago Beyond, 2018. "Why am I always being researched?" Chicago Beyond Equity Series


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