Research – To fund or not, on what?

Brian Martin’s chapter 7, “The politics of research” discusses the “Catch 22” of where the money comes from in supporting research endeavours useful in the business world, military, medical, law, engineering and other professional, commercial and industrial enterprises. The majority of any type of research is targeted to a specifically stated goal in mind, for those people or groups of people, in a business or corporation paying the researchers to look for (or research) a method, to look for a specific stated outcome, to look for a more efficient way to make a product, etc., to ultimately improve their own business and in turn to bring in more money for their own special interests. In the words of Brian Martin, “The work of professional researchers is strongly influenced by funding, disciplines, hierarchy and competition.”

Besides the “dog eat dog” side of the professional researchers overall view of things, Brian Martin explores and examines alternative strategies for a more inclusive take on the community activists /researchers involvement with practical applications providing useful tools for the general public and community at large. Martin’s model of research includes community participation and control. Martin states, “Community control means that funding and accountability would be in the community’s hands.” Citizen groups could organize and decide and fund research on matters that directly affect them in their daily lives as far as housing, transportation, commercial and industrial concerns directly impacting the community, access to medical care, attaining electrical and water sources, for examples. Martin advocates for an entire community funded and community involved research system to bring to light a plan to have all types of people generate their own project and put it into action.

I think communities could do this. However, the biggest obstacle is to find where the money is coming from.


One response to “Research – To fund or not, on what?

  1. I found Martin’s discussion of community-based research inspiring, too. Do you think that new tools like Wikipedia can be used to harness community participation in research? Are there any pitfalls to having a broader research community?

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