Comunica Investiga Lab

Researching to find us: the first cycle of Comunica Investiga Lab


A few days before the end of the first cycle of Comunica Investiga Lab, during an advisory session, one of the participants told us with all sincerity that while doing her research she discovered what she wants to do as a communicator. Listening to her words made us feel that it was worth all the effort we made up to this point to fulfill our greatest desire: to build a community of researchers in communications, which gives students and graduates the opportunity to develop their research skills, and where collaboration and co-construction of knowledge prevails. Although they have flown by, these have been the first months of hard work to make the dream come true; hard because it demanded, as the waltz says, soul, heart and life. 

It is very important to emphasize that this is a project born from intergenerational and interdisciplinary work, where we have all learned from each other, and have had the opportunity to make mistakes in the process in order to learn from them. For Gabriela and Orietta it meant rethinking their role as teachers, their teaching methodologies, and also assuming a role as project organizers.  For Samuel and Carlos it meant taking their first steps in a work environment after graduating from university. For Chiara it meant re-encountering and re-adapting to the methodologies and formalities of academia after five years of practical work. The fusion of our knowledge and life experiences has been fundamental to generate a work team that promotes an environment of growth for the participants of the laboratory. 

It has been an intense cycle of debates, document drafts, schedules and internal deadlines, where we had to balance the two roles (sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory) of being educators and project managers, which meant a lot of effort but also a lot of joy when we saw that our work was bearing fruit.  We are truly grateful to the participants who accepted the challenge of being part of this project, because they are the ones who keep our motivation alive to constantly improve our work.

We started the first cycle of the lab with fourteen participants willing to develop ten research projects, both individual and group. The research topics were very varied, ranging from native communities in environmental conflicts to online communities united by the same passion. Throughout the process we have tried to provide personalized responses to the needs of each participant, and we have seen how their projects have evolved, as they went through processes of restructuring their problems and making decisions about the methodologies to be used. Unfortunately, some of the participants had to withdraw from the laboratory due to time conflicts with the various commitments they had, between their university classes and other extracurricular activities; we hope that in the future they will be encouraged to resume their projects or start new ones, since Comunica Investiga Lab will always welcome them with open arms.

This experience has provided us with several lessons regarding what we understand by research and its teaching. To begin with, it has helped us to confirm that the essential aspect for a student to carry out research is motivation. The methodological part or the systematization of information can be learned, but it is the student’s passion that drives and motivates this learning and allows him/her to overcome the challenges and obstacles that all research involves. It is the student who commits himself to his project by wanting to learn about a specific topic. We reaffirm the usefulness of establishing two basic instruments for research: the road map that helps researchers not to lose sight of the objective and to dose the work, and the basic structure of the final report that allows us to visualize how we will communicate the results and their analysis. We also confirmed the importance of conducting an Induction Program at the beginning of each cycle, as it was not only very useful to refresh research knowledge, but also allowed us to accompany and guide the participants in the process of defining their research objective. Additionally, the group discussion spaces within the Induction Program laid the groundwork for building a sense of community between the participants and the organizers.

The notion of community is the most important aspect of this project, and we want to highlight that aspect in the coming cycles. One of our successes, which we will certainly repeat, was to provide a safe space for participants to process and share their feelings about their projects through the research logs that we publish each week. This has been an opportunity to humanize the research process, to show that behind each article or essay there is a person with doubts, frustrations and joys. Humanizing research rescues enjoyment and satisfaction and shortens the distance between duty and desire. However, it is curious that although we have been very mindful of the emotional needs of the participants, we have not given ourselves a space for us, as the organizing team, to do the same. This is something we have yet to learn: the need to give space to our own emotions and feelings in our work dynamics in order to build links within the team that bring us closer to the participants, strengthening our community of co-creation of knowledge.

As we close the first cycle and prepare for the next one, we found several opportunities to provide participants with an even better Comunica Investiga Lab experience. In the future we would like to encourage more regular meetings to share and evaluate what we have been doing, and thus emphasize the collective dimension of supporting the work. We are committed to continue investigating and exploring new techniques that make research training more attractive, and to continue to debunk the myth that research is boring or tedious, rather we want to celebrate the joy of learning something new. We are reaping the first fruits of Comunica Investiga Lab, not only with the research products, but especially with each person who trusts us and not only gives their time and effort, but also their sensitivity, to form this community. We are very excited to start the next cycle, a new opportunity to implement the proposals we have in mind, and to reach more people who wish to be part of this research community. This is just the beginning for Comunica Investiga Lab!

– Orietta, Gabriela, Samuel, Carlos y Chiara

Equipo Organizador
Miembro fundador

Esta insignia especial tiene el honor de ser entregada a lxs integrantes de la primera edición del Lab, quienes no solo evidenciaron rigurosidad académica durante el proceso de investigación, sino también valentía y perseverancia para aventurarse a ser parte de nuestra primera comunidad de investigadorxs. Quienes posean esta insignia tienen la oportunidad de incorporarae como parte del equipo organizador. Siempre serán bienvenidxs y recordadxs por toda la comunidad de Comunica Investiga Lab.

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