We've all conducted some form of research, even if it's on behalf of the kids and their school projects. I became interested in community-based social research ten years ago and have undertaken a number of pieces in Greater Manchester. This community-based consultation is also community-led because I always use a team of local people to plan and undertake the study. Local people are usually expert in local issues. Training them in the tools of research and opening their eyes to the different types of information available and the different ways of collecting the views of residents and other stakeholders, makes them feel ever powerful. We've looked at the needs of young families for Sure Start, Barriers to Community Learning and Participation, Community views on the effectiveness of regeneration, housing renewal policy and community health provision, the impact of migrants on local services, and social coherence in a large new mixed tenure housing development.

I am happy to talk to anyone looking to commission new pieces of community research and consultation, particularly where it involves recruiting and training local researchers. For examples see the link to The Broughton Trust.