Communicating with communities is a vital part of the research licensing process in the North and you have a very important role in it.
Certain research licences or permits will not be issued if appropriate communication with the community has not taken place. You must consider the type, scope, location, and potential impacts of your research to determine which community organization(s) you need to contact, and what their level of involement can and should be. Here are some helpful notes:
- Expect to involve residents, and visit communities to give presentations well in advance of your fieldwork if your research project is large, if it is a sensitive research topic, and/or if it involves human subjects (e.g. if it is likely to generate either controversy, or environmental and socio-cultural impacts). See our Community Research Priorities section for guidance from a selection of NWT organizations on research priorities in their communities.
- It is important to remember that many community organizations in the NWT do not have staff with technical knowledge to assist in reviewing research proposals. In addition, these organizations review applications from a broad scope of scientific fields and the technical language varies from one field to the next. Plain language is the key to effective communication. Check out our Plain Language page for help with translating technical and academic language into plain language.
- Communicating effectively with communities about your research requires appropriate language, and cross-cultural awareness. Researchers must also be able to take the initiative to approach the local organizations - both at the outset and throughout the life of the research project: from developing your study idea and submitting your application, to conducting fieldwork and presenting results (from preliminary data to final conclusions). We recommend reviewing Working Together guide for researchers for tips and advice on how to encourage community input at every stage of your project.
- We've compiled a package of templates designed to help with communication about research projects. This includes a template for reporting results, a powerpoint presentation template, and a plain language checklist. You may find it helpful to use these templates when preparing a presentation or summary of your research to share with community members, government representatives, and organizations.