Modes of Research

Three Modes of Research

The CMN aims to support the sustainability of our mountain spaces, and the communities who inhabit them,by advancing research that:

  • Is inclusive, co-designed, and interdisciplinary;
  • Recognizes the interconnectedness of mountain environments and their social and economic systems, and;
  • Meets the needs of diverse mountain communities including indigenous communities.

Achieving this vision requires the CMN to acknowledge that how we do research is as important as what research we do.

The CMN emphasizes three modes of research that exist along a spectrum. The CMN approach emphasizes that a deliberate choice be made at the onset of a project by research partners as to which mode best fits a particular project’s needs as well as its contributions to the network as a whole.

All CMN research projects will be on the pressing topics that have been identified and endorsed by Network partners. Researchers may be from traditional academic and non-academic settings; for example, NGOs, Governments, and Indigenous organizations may lead or co-lead projects.

Mode 1: Researcher-led research

Mode 1 projects are initiated and led by researchers. They involve carrying out research on pressing topics that have been identified (and endorsed) by Network partners, including researchers themselves. Participation of a network partner alongside the lead researcher is more limited in this type of project because they have chosen to take a less direct role in designing and implementing the research. Mode 1 projects may be co-developed, but are not necessarily co-designed or co-implemented.

When would the CMN advance a Mode 1 project?

  • A researcher from any Network partner organization is leading a project that addresses a pressing need for information that has been identified by Network partners, including researchers.
  • When there is limited capacity and need for network partners to participate directly in the project alongside lead researchers.
  • Network partners are confident that the research results will be effectively communicated to the broader community because the research team has a strong track record in effectively communicating results.

Mode 2: Partnership-based, participatory research

This mode may be deemed to be suitable when network partners are interested in collaborating on all stages of a research project, and when partners either have the capacity to be involved and/or the project proposal addresses capacity limitations to ensure partners are able to be involved. Mode 2 projects are co-developed, co-designed, and co-produced by multiple network partners, including researchers and knowledge-users such as communities, industry, governments, Indigenous organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

When would the CMN advance a Mode 2 project?

  • A number of network partners are interested in participating in a collaborative project.
  • Logistics allow a number of partners to be directly involved in all aspects of the research
  • The project is co-designed and co-produced by engaged partners.
  • The topic being explored benefits from this level of collaboration because it enhances the ability of the research to be relevant and applied and a need to build capacity to implement the results.
  • Where projects incorporate Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing but capacity for communities to take the lead has yet to be built (and such capacity-building can be a project objective).
  • Network partners are confident that results will be effectively communicated to and taken up by partners because the research process is collaborative with partners.

Mode 3: Community-led research

This mode describes research projects in which researchers shift roles from driving projects to supporting community partners.

When would the CMN advance a Mode 3 project?

  • When project methods go beyond community-based, participatory research and put communities into the lead roles, supported by researchers
  • When two-way capacity-building between researchers and community members is built into the project
  • When projects incorporate key elements of Indigenous research methodologies such as relationality and reciprocity
  • When projects seek to contribute to creating sustainable social and economic opportunities, advancing Indigenous self-determination, and strengthening resiliency in mountain communities and their supporting ecosystems
  • Where projects incorporate Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing