As an outreach worker you may be invited to help a research team with a research project.
Here are some questions to ask the research team and things to consider before, during and after the project.
Questions to ask about the Research Project
How will farmworkers benefit from this study? What are the risks to farmworkers in this study?
- How have farmworkers been involved in planning this study?
What are the goals of this study? Is this study part of a larger study?
What are the specific steps and timelines for this project?
What kinds of data will be collected during this study (for example, blood, urine, answers to surveys, discussion in small groups)? How much time will collecting data take for the participant?
Who will be collecting data? What are their training and skills (for example, language skills)?
- Think about whether the people collecting data are likely to be successful.
Where will data be collected (for example, on the farm, in farmworker housing, at a clinic)?
- Think about the logistics for this study. Will the grower have to be contacted? How will blood or urine be picked up? How will farmworkers be transported?
What would be my role in the study? What training would you provide me?
Would I help the research team make contact with farmworkers? Help with recruitment? Collect data? Understand and make sense of the findings? Report back important results?
- Think about how your role might overlap with the work you are already doing. It is a good idea to have in writing the roles and responsibilities that you and the study team agree on. Based on your knowledge of and experience with farmworkers, you should feel comfortable sharing your ideas about how to improve what the researchers are planning to do.
Who would I be working with on regular basis? Who would be my main point of contact?
Who all is involved in this research? Are there local partners? What will growers know about this study?
- Think about who you might suggest be included in the team.
Who will explain this study to the participants and what will be shared with them?
How will you protect people who participate in the research?
- Most universities and other organizations that do research have an Institutional Review Board (IRB) that makes sure research studies are ethical. The IRB reviews all studies and looks for researchers to reduce risk to participants. This includes making the participants' identities and their data (for example blood, urine, answers to surveys, discussion in small groups) private. The IRB also makes sure that participants are aware of everything that will happen during a study before they agree to participate. This is called informed consent.
How many participants will be included in the study? What types of participants do you want to include (for example, migrant farmworkers, seasonal farmworkers, men, women)?
How will participants be compensated for being part of the study? When and how will compensation be given?
How will my time be compensated?
- You can ask the research team to be paid an hourly rate or to be paid an amount to complete certain activities.
How and when will the research team tell participants and participating organizations about the important results of this study? Who will be sharing the results with participants? What will the format be (for example, infographic, webpage, presentation)?
What is my role in the sharing of results? Is there an opportunity for me to be an author on a scientific paper? Is there an opportunity for me to be a presenter at a community or professional meeting?
- Feel free to contact the team at Partners in Farmworker Research and we will try to help put you in contact with researchers who may have similar interests.
Deciding Whether to Participate
Think about your existing responsibilities at work and for other projects. Is the study a high priority to you? Do you have the time and interest needed to be a part of this study?
- Be clear when the timing of the study does not work for you and your job duties or the farmworkers and their job duties (for example, the time of the season or the time of day). It is okay to decide not to participate in a study if you don’t have an interest or you don’t think that farmworkers or your organization will benefit.
Talk with the research team about what you need to be able to assist with this study (for example, compensation for your time, how you want to be included in the study from planning through sharing of results).
Think about how well the research team has answered your questions about the study and your potential role.
- If after talking with the research team, things still seem unclear or you have concerns for yourself or participants, you can always decide not to participate.
Tips for Success During and After the Research Project
Communication during the research project
What should you do if you are asked to take on additional or different responsibilities once the project has started?
- Review what you wrote with the study team about your roles and responsibilities. If you are being asked to do something new or different, ask to meet face-to-face (better option) or have a phone call with the person you met with at first. Prior to that meeting, think about how this new or different responsibility will (or will not) benefit farmworkers, how it will ( or will not) fit with your other responsibilities, and whether (or not) you want to be involved in this way. Think about what (if any) thing you may need (for example, compensation, training, help from a study team member).
Communication after the research project
How do you want to be involved in sharing the results?
- You can help present results at community or professional meetings or help write a scientific paper. Your voice in the sharing of results can be powerful. Those learning about the study will benefit from hearing about the role that you had in doing this research.
If you are asked to tell participating farmworkers about study results, what you might need from the study team?
- Deciding who will tell participants about important study results should be done during the planning phase of the project. At that time, you will also want to discuss with the study team how and when results will be shared (for example, group results in a PowerPoint at a community meeting or handouts with personal results given out at camp visits). If you have agreed to be involved in sharing results, you might ask for the following from the study team:
- planning assistance for community meetings, including providing meeting space, a projector, and food;
- help developing PowerPoint presentation slides related to your role in the project; and
- printed or presentation materials developed by the study team that show group or personal results.
For an example of a successful outreach worker/ university partnership click here.