By Jibrea Perryman, Guest Contributor
Trust is an abstract concept that most people believe is needed and a valuable asset. Being able to trust a partner or a partnership means that there is a sense of reliability; they believe in you and are confident in your abilities. There tends to be a sense of safety; physically and emotionally.
On a personal note, when I’m in a trusting relationship, I know they will not present any harm my way. I believe what they tell me because I trust their words and their actions. For me, trust is typically an underpinning for a friendship. I know that in the education world, specifically community-engaged partnerships, the notion of a friendship, then a trusting partnership will not always occur. However, no one can predict the outcome of reciprocity in trust.
As I synthesize all of the knowledge gained over my course work, trust is one of the key ingredients needed in community-engaged partnerships. Over the course of history, trust in the community has not always been had or valued. This makes forming community partnerships more challenging. The community members have a distaste for researchers who simply come in and take. I’m sure the coined phrase reciprocity in trust isn’t a new statement, but it put into perspective that with true trust, there can be a mutual exchange, where everyone can give and receive in the partnership.
I read the article Trust In Participatory Action Community-Engaged Partnerships: Relationships and Historic Trauma Matter. I really learned more about the effects of historical trauma in communities. I have a deep interest in trauma because I’ve seen it play out inside the classroom. This article is a great starting place to begin an inquiry on trauma in the education field. What I liked about this article is how the researcher’s shared with the audience the reasoning behind why trust in community-engaged partnerships is critical. The researchers’ main goal was to show how “A model of trust formed when partners exhibit relational capital, relational embeddedness, and transparency within the principles of trauma-informed care,” (Carlson et al, 2019, pg. 18).
The researchers knew there was a not-so-good history between researchers and community members due to previous researchers coming, in taking what they needed and leaving. Often times, they did not even share the data found with the community members. Because of this, the university members knew it was imperative to build a relationship based on trust. Additionally, the researchers had done their due diligence and knew the historical trauma the African American community had faced.
The team of researchers were very specific in their inquiry-based questions. They were purposeful in wanting to bring “trauma-responsive interventions” to the identified community. What I found most fascinating was that the team focused their research inquiry down to two questions:
- What are the major areas of concern for people in the community regarding working with university researchers?
- What are the main best practices that university researchers can do to enhance partnership with the community?
Prior to reading this article, I had never heard of the thematic analysis method. Carlson et al (2019) states, “The thematic analysis included line by line and axial coding on the quotations in the transcribed data. Further analysis used the constant comparison approach within and across data points,” (Calson et al, 2019, pgs. 20-21). I synthesize this to mean that they more than likely recorded conversations and coded the data collected. Additionally, they compared the data received. From their data analysis they were able to explain their findings and create best practices on how to build trusting relationships.
The team understood the necessity to be open and transparent with the members of the community. Most of all, the research team members made sure to treat the community members with respect. They didn’t have the notion that they, as the university members, had all the knowledge, while the community members were empty vessels lacking in knowledge.
Jibrea Perryman is an Educational Leadership Master of Arts student in the IU School of Education at IUPUI.