Scholar/practitioner research in international development volunteering: benefits, challenges and future opportunities

Rebecca Tiessen, Jessica Cadesky, Benjamin J. Lough, Jim Delaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International development volunteering (IDV) is the practice of sending skilled international volunteers to exchange knowledge and skills with community-based organisations and individuals in a partner country. IDV is a popular form of development assistance in many countries. As the popularity of these programmes grows, so too does the need for–and interest in–better understanding of their impacts and dynamics. Scholar/practitioner research collaborations provide opportunities for improved knowledge development in this field of study. To better understand the dynamics of these collaborations, researchers collected survey data from 22 scholars and practitioners involved in IDV research, as well as notes from a workshop with 40 stakeholders from the IDV community. Thematic analysis of these data considers the distinctive features of collaboration models used in IDV research. Taken together, these data identify several benefits to collaboration and/or research partnerships as well as significant challenges that limit the scope and impact of their work. The findings from this study provide insights into opportunities for enhancing effective practices and designing new collaborative efforts for engaging in scholar/practitioner collaboration in IDV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-415
Number of pages22
JournalCanadian Journal of Development Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Collaboration
  • development
  • international
  • research
  • volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


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