Williamstown has embarked on a research project to better understand safety and wellbeing in Williamstown, and we need your help! This research explores how the town addresses public safety needs now, how residents feel about their own safety, and how we can create a greater sense of well-being and belonging.
Any resident of Williamstown can sign up to be interviewed as part of this and future community assessments. Please fill out this form if you are interested in participating, and please tell your friends and family that the Town is actively seeking their input. Given the significant public response to our initial outreach efforts, it may be several weeks before we can reach out to schedule your interview. We appreciate your patience as we take the time to call and schedule with each participant.
Please note that while the researchers will record contact information in order to set up interviews, the interview data itself will be anonymized. In other words, your name and contact details will not be associated with your responses to research questions.
The project’s scope is defined by the nature of the problems being studied (community safety and wellbeing) along with careful consideration of existing research, theories, methods, and community input.
The project’s scale is determined by the number of research participants. Because this is a community-based participatory research project, grounded in commitments to equity and inclusion, its scale is determined by the community itself, as all community members are invited to share their perspectives.
The project’s design includes both methodology and methods. Experienced researchers have designed this particular project based on community input and knowledge of a variety of potential methodologies and methods.
Qualitative interviewing, which is one of the primary methods used in this study, takes time, as people respond to open-ended questions rather than a survey with a set of predetermined answers. This approach ensures that we elicit genuine, in-the-moment responses from each participant and allows us to monitor participation such that no one can participate more than once, thus avoiding one of the major flaws of other data collection methods such as online surveys.
The interview guide is designed to take approximately one hour, but the length of interviews truly depends on each interview participant. Some people may need more time than others, depending on their experiences and how much information they wish to share.
This means that interviews need to be scheduled with sufficient time windows to account for some variability in length. In addition, each interview involves setup time, data collection, data upload, and equipment maintenance tasks.
We sincerely appreciate your patience with this process as we take the time to speak with each community member who wishes to participate.
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) will help us move from these important conversations to evidence-based solutions by involving a broader cross-section of the community who might not feel comfortable speaking in public forums or on social media and analyzing community feedback as a whole rather than relying on purely anecdotal evidence. Content and thematic analysis of interviews with as many community members as possible will empower us to generate sound action plans and begin implementing them. In other words, the community’s input will fuel recommendations for changes to existing policies and programs to better and more equitably serve the community.
Please feel free to tell your friends and neighbors about this study and help us obtain as much community feedback as possible.