Local Thinking

Examining rural phenomena via local thinking and a dirt research approach requires a deep immersion in the rural research process. 

In a Dirt Research approach, resident scholars eat, travel, play, work, and live in the communities in which they conduct their research. Through these entirely human experiences, scholars come to understand rural challenges through a new perspective. Not as a researcher analyzing census data in an urban university library, but as a rural resident subject to the realities of rural living.

This perspective can have a profound effect on research recommendations, framing of problems, and methodologies that explore rural phenomena.

Rural Data

Rural is designed to be a rich, dynamic, digital platform of curated evidence for health and social care interventions in rural and remote communities.

Rural seeks to turn data into evidence, but also takes the next step towards transforming evidence into knowledge. All this with the ultimate goal of facilitating efficient and effective implementation of local knowledge into practice.


Under what conditions can local health and care services take responsibility for designing and implementing new service models that meet local needs? How do services operate in small rural settings, where service sustainability is challenged by relatively small population sizes and intermediate distances to larger service centres?

Our research shows how rural health and care systems can be loci of adaptation and innovation given the appropriate mix of local autonomy, strong service-community connections, high absorptive capacity, and evidence of organizational antifragility.

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