3 MIN READ | Editor's Choice

The Psychology of Research Collaboration

Dennis Relojo

Reading Time: 3 minutes


The landscape of scientific research is rapidly evolving. For one, researchers have essentially migrated from the era of ‘traditional’ research in which one researcher pursued a theme over several decades. Instead, academia is fostering a fresh research culture, whereby academic works advance through the creation of interdisciplinary research. As a researcher, you surely know the benefits that you can derive from research collaboration. 

But what exactly do we mean by ‘research collaboration’? (These might seem straightforward, but it isn’t). I personally prefer this definition from the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC): Research collaboration is as an umbrella term for methodologies that actively engage communities and policy makers in the research process from start to finish.

This therefore means that academic researchers, community-based organisations, and policy makers will work together to:

  • frame the problems to be tackled and the questions that need to be answered;
  • undertake the research and interpret the results in terms of their significance for community and policy change; and
  • disseminate the research findings and advocate for change.

As described by CCREC, research collaboration is an engaged scholarship in action, in which researchers, community members, and policy makers respect the skills and expertise that each partner brings to the table, so that together they might know better how to understand the complex problems facing them. Through this partnership they can identify ways to implement research-based responses to those problems.

Whether you are an established researcher or an emerging scholar, you know that research requires a diverse set of skills and capabilities, and that these skills and capabilities are usually honed over a substantial period of time. Under these circumstances, an innovative idea for research collaboration can offer motivation and inspiration. 

Research collaboration is not really new. As humans, we always look for ways to simplify our tasks. One of the ways to achieve this is by pooling our resources, whether through sharing expertise, financial leverage, commissioning etc.

Through research collaboration you learn to focus on team-based approaches.

During the early stage of your research career, you might have realised that doing collaborative research in psychology offers an engaging journey through the process of conducting research in psychology. Through research collaboration you learn to focus on team-based approaches to reflect on collaborative nature of research methods and experimental psychology.

Through collaboration we learn how to work as a team, generate creative research ideas, design and pilot studies, recruit participants, collect and analyse data, write up results in APA style, and prepare and give formal research presentations. We also learn practical ways in which they can promote our research skills as we apply this to our future career paths.

However, collaboration is not easy to achieve or sustain. One study reveals that between 50% and 75% of all interorganisational collaborations fail. And failure, particularly in scientific research,is expensive. So, if you are new to collaborating, you might find these ten rules for successful research collaboration a helpful read. 

Indeed, research collaboration is an indispensable tool. But where exactly can you find research collaborators, in psychology and beyond? In an earlier post, I have made a list of platforms to help you find a ‘dating partner’ for you research. These are:

  • Academic Labs
  • Mendeley
  • ScienceOpen
  • ResearchGate
  • Publiconn
  • Conseris

Psychreg also supports research collaboration. As you can probably notice on our homepage, we feature a collection of profiles of people whose background are in psychology and allied fields. 

Hopefully, you find these resources useful for your research journey. However, bear in mind. For the search to be successful, approach it like a process with clear objectives and milestones. This way, you won’t have to lose sleep over finding a research collaborator the next time.

Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and is a Commissioning Editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojo and his website.


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