Case Study Analyses of Royal Roads Student Research

Royal Roads University (RRU) has a mission to teach and create research that contributes to transformation; transformation in our students and transformation in the world. Low disciplinary boundaries, strong blended academic and professional experience, linkages among faculty and students, as well as a deliberate focus on solution-oriented research, situates RRU well to address real-world problems.

Purpose: To improve the way universities teach and support problem-focused research.

 

Question: To what extent do Royal Roads University graduate research projects contribute to social change? What are the main impact pathways?

 

Method:

We conduct participatory project evaluations using a Theory of Change to model the research process and its intended outcomes, and apply the TDR QAF tool to characterize project design and implementation.

 

Case Studies: 

 

Truth-Telling Project Evaluation (Doctor of Social Sciences)

Over the past two decades, Northern Uganda’s armed conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government of Uganda is estimated to have affected over 100,000 young people. The research applied participatory action research (PAR) with young people in northern Uganda, aged 11 to 23, who were formerly abducted (FA), internally displaced (ID), born in captivity (BIC), and/or disabled by the war (DBW) to explore young people’s perspectives on post-conflict truth telling, identify emergent changes resulting from the research, and propose a new model of meaningful and ethical engagement of young people in post-conflict truth telling.

The research expected to contribute to change through five interconnected impact pathways:

  1. Empowerment of young people
  2. National and intergovernmental policy
  3. Organizational capacity and practice
  4. Research agendas
  5. Professional development of the research team

 

Philanthropic Development Aid Project Evaluation (Doctor of Social Sciences)

The research aimed to uncover recipient (end-users, organizations) perceptions of philanthropic development aid (PDA) in Moshi, Tanzania. The research intended to influence PDA to become learning-oriented in order to more effectively empower communities for sustainable development. Through literature review, observation, interviews, and networking, the researcher gained insights into the role of PDA in the development sector, connections between PDA and tourism, organizational characteristics of PDA in Moshi, and lessons on ‘thriving’ versus ‘floundering’ organizations.

The research expected to contribute to change through three interconnected impact pathways:

  1. Organizational development
  2. Academic
  3. Personal/professional development 

Sanitation in the Niger Delta Project Evaluation (Doctor of Social Sciences)

The research aimed to discover how adoption of sustainable sanitation could be improved in riverine communities of the Niger Delta by identifying the current water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices, attitudes, and beliefs; what sanitation technologies are already used in riverine communities; what technologies would be appropriate to the delta’s geography; and what barriers must be addressed to sustainably improve sanitation. By engaging two Niger Delta communities, local WASH practitioners, community-based organizations (CBO), state and local government WASH actors, the research intended to better understand why the sanitation situation was so poor, increase communities’ and WASH practitioners’ development capacity and agency, and provide communities with hope for prosperity.

The research expected to contribute to change through three interconnected impact pathways:

  1. Government policy and practice
  2. WASH sector and community development 
  3. Professional development 

Gender in Leadership in Wildland Fire Project Evaluation (Master of Arts in Leadership)

The research aimed to discover and document attitudes and experiences regarding gender discrimination and sexual harassment within the British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS). The research intended to create positive change by enabling an open space for dialogue about gender at BCWS from multiple perspectives; utilise this conversation as the foundation for gender responsive leadership to emerge in the organization; and share this experience of proactive organizational learning to influence positive change in the broader wildland fire community. Through directly engaging BCWS and members of the organization within research activities, the researcher aimed to address the dissonance between academic knowledge and practitioner awareness of gender discrimination and organizational culture.

The research expected to contribute to change through three interconnected impact pathways:

  1. Discourse guiding organizational practice
  2. Personal/professional development
  3. Academic 

Certification of Airport Security Project Evaluation (Master of Arts in Leadership)

The research examined possible strategies for the certification of Learning and Performance Advisors (LPAs) at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). As national consistency and procedural accuracy are important to the level of security offered in Canada’s airports, it is important for CATSA to demonstrate that LPAs stay current with changing policies and procedures. Through consultation with LPAs and other internal stakeholders, the study explored new ways to help achieve CATSA’s vision of corporate and operational expertise in a time of growth and diversification.

The research expected to contribute to change through three interconnected impact pathways:

  1. Capacity-building of LPAs
  2. Organizational development
  3. Personal/professional development

Truth-Telling Project

Philanthropic Development Aid Project

Sanitation in the Niger Delta Project

Gender in Leadership in Wildland Fire Project

Certification of Airport Security Project