Discussion Questions

A. Describe what is meant by ‘knowledge translation’ and its importance in the scientific process? To what extent is it incumbent on researchers to make efforts in this regard, or is it enough to simply obtain the data and let others with more experience and skills translate the knowledge more broadly?

B. Explain what is meant by Community-Based Participatory Research? What are the goals of this approach? Give an example of a research project that would use this type of strategy.

C. There has been a push to increase community involvement in directing where research should be going. This is widely accepted, but there are those who might feel that community members are not sufficiently well-versed about science or the required methodologies, or even the essential questions that ought to be addressed. It has been argued that the suggestions of community members would certainly be welcome, but they should not have a voice in directing the actual research or its direction. What are your thoughts on this touchy issue?

D. Political parties want immediately applicable results lest the next elected party get the credit for important findings. Scientists, in contrast, often want to understand basic mechanisms that could lead to effective interventions or treatments of diseases even if these only emerge at some point down the road. Are these needs and perspectives incompatible with one another or is there an acceptable middle ground?

E. Limited funding is available to meet the needs of research dealing with the wide array of diseases that humans experience. Every group certainly believes that their needs are the most important and should be the highest priority for governments that dispense funding. Climate change and treating illnesses are both essential; regulatory and preparedness procedures are needed to protect communities from relatively common threats and those from powerful natural disasters. How should government agencies meet the various needs given the limitations that exist? In what way might health psychologists play a role in this complex decision-making process?