Building a Culture of Research: Using Undergraduate Research to Advance the TR Profession, Build Research Capacity, and Foster Collaborative Relationships


  • Geri Paterson
  • Tricia Rachfall
  • Colleen Reid


Therapeutic recreation, curriculum, undergraduate research, education, Research Skills Development Framework, research culture, community-based research


The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale for rethinking the role of undergraduate research and to describe Douglas College’s innovative approach to developing a research culture through fostering undergraduate therapeutic recreation (TR) students’ research skills. In the literature review we build the case for an undergraduate research-based curriculum as an essential step in building a research culture. A research skills development framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2007) is presented as a way to view research skills and to understand how a student might progress and develop research competence. The role of collaboration is examined as an intimate and essential aspect of building a research culture. We present the initiatives and ideas that Douglas College has used in its quest to create a research ethos that embraces not only the TR Department but also the TR community, and conclude by outlining future steps to continue the work at Douglas, including reaching out to other educational institutions to collaborate on research projects.



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