Research on the Ecovillage
At Cloughjordan Ecovillage, we recognize the importance of facilitating quality academic research into the project as it advances, that contributes to both documenting its development and harvesting valuable lessons from the ecovillage. Our Village Education, Research and Training (VERT) group therefore offers advice and support to researchers, details of which can be found on this page. We ask that incoming researchers read through our full guidelines on this webpage before submitting a proposal to ensure fruitful engagement with the project, its members, and valuable outcomes to the research.
Have a Question?
Here is a list of frequently asked questions about doing research in the ecovillage. We hope they may answer any questions for prospective researchers thinking of studying the ecovillage.
If your question is not answered here, please send your question to [email protected] and we will be more than happy to correspond with you.
We welcome all kinds of research proposals here at Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Many of the research proposals we receive are on sustainability, resilience, building energy consumption, and construction methods. However, a wide-ranging project like Cloughjordan Ecovillage could also include, but should not be limited to, other topics such as community health, transport, ICT, agriculture, politics, economics, community development, political economy, or sociology.
We keep a list of publishings on the ecovillage website of research that we would be especially keen to promote, which can be found here. This will be updated from time to time. We advise prospective researchers to read through some of these articles to gain an understanding of what topics are of current interest and what has already been studied.
We would much prefer researchers to contact us before committing to any research project. There are a number of reasons for this but the key reason is that willing participation is a core principle in any set of ethical guidelines. Also, we may be able to direct the incoming researcher to previous research that may be relevant to their topic.
Another issue that can arise is substantial overlap with another project, which could be a major difficulty at a higher level. If consulted early, we may be able to propose an alternative topic.
A number of residents are actively engaged in research, on a range of levels. Several have research qualifications and experience of supervising Ph.D. students, in diverse disciplines. As such, we believe we can offer valuable insight into consulting and advising on research projects.
We have a research contact form at the bottom of this webpage that can be used for enquiries to Cloughjordan Ecovillage about research.
We are delighted to have prospective researchers visit the ecovillage prior to conducting research. We give free tours most Saturday and Sunday afternoons: please see the ecovillage website for current details. However, these tours should be considered as no more than a casual introduction; guides are not generally able to answer questions of a technical or specialized nature.
Otherwise, we ask you to engage in contacting us beforehand to see if a time can be arranged for a meeting. Where an individual visit is required at short notice, we may have to charge for our time. We have a number of courses and programs ongoing at the ecovillage. These may be a good way to engage the ecovillage firsthand that may also be of relevance to the research you are conducting.
Many residents in the ecovillage are happy to be part of the research. We get many requests to facilitate research projects, so residents can become weary of being interviewed and we suggest that prospective researchers keep this in mind when requesting participants. Consequently, researchers must understand that our current population of only 55 households may not be enough to yield a viable sample depending on the study.
Interviews should be pre-arranged. We can circulate your interview request to residents, who then will decide whether to engage in ongoing research. Please note that most residents have other priorities, so the response rate might be low. Also, we try to minimize circulating emails to our members so as not to overload them with requests. Please consider that we may not be able to send out emails when only given the short notice.
Higher participation rates are more likely to be attained by researchers who make the acquaintance of residents by spending time in the ecovillage. In such circumstances, it can be beneficial to mention that you are engaging with research on the ecovillage to stimulate the resident’s interest.
Please do not cold-call to our residents as unannounced visits are considered an invasion of privacy. We have advised residents not to engage with such callers as we would much prefer research to be planned in advance.
Methodology varies widely between disciplines. However, the response rate to posted or emailed questionnaires and online survey tools can be very low. We generally find that surveys of residents are best done on a face-to-face basis since most people prefer a chat over a cup of tea to keyboard work. We are happy to have researchers come to the ecovillage and stay for a few days, or weeks if required, in order to complete their interviews or surveys. However, the researcher coming to the ecovillage will have to find accommodation prior to arriving.
We are happy for Cloughjordan Ecovillage to be the subject of research and find that we generally get some benefit, whatever the level. However, the educational objectives of Cloughjordan Ecovillage are better fulfilled when a researcher engages with the ecovillage and its members. As such, by engaging with the ecovillage early in the research process, the final report may be of a higher benefit to the ecovillage than otherwise.
The ecovillage has no full-time staff, so your enquiries will almost certainly be handled by a volunteer, as an addition to their primary duties. The time they give to you may impact their own business or on their other voluntary duties, so the time they can give to helping most researchers may be very limited. They may, however, be able to spare you more time if you can offer some voluntary hours to the project, especially if your input contributes to the workload of your contact.
An undertaking to send us a copy is a standard condition of our participation in your research. We prefer to receive a copy at the draft stage so that we can comment on it, as well as the final version. We may wish to publish or circulate your report, for example on the Cloughjordan Ecovillage website.
Get in touch
Contact for Researchers
Here at Cloughjordan we aim to support and facilitate research, of any discipline, that may help deepen our understanding of ecovillages, their relevance to greater society, or other socio-ecological interactions.
As processes surrounding the ecovillage are facilitated by mainly ecovillage residents on a voluntary basis, we have limited capacity when it comes to being able to accept proposals. However, we don’t wish this limitation to deter any proposal, so if you are interested in carrying out research with reference to Cloughjordan Ecovillage, please fill out our Research Enquiry Form or complete the form below.
We also welcome collaborative research with other organisations, whether this be to engage in community partnership or through a single research project. We are always looking to expand our network for both educational or research purposes and believe that by working with other organisations with similar interests we can strengthen our own understanding of sustainable living.
If you are part of an organisation or fund that is looking to connect with Cloughjordan Ecovillage, please contact us and we are happy to discuss potential collaboration.
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