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The Council for Community and Economic Research


C2ER’s primary professional certification, Certified Community Researcher (CCR), is the industry standard for recognizing excellence in community and economic research.  CCRs undertake a rigorous course of training and evaluation of their research to earn this designation. There are two CCR tracks, the Manager Track and the Analyst Track.

Who is a Certified Community Researcher?
  • CCRs are mid-career research professionals who possess a mastery of economic and demographic analysis and can demonstrate their ability to utilize these skills in practical community research applications.
  • For a full list of current CCRs, click here

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Why should I become a Certified Community Researcher?
  • The CCR designation demonstrates to employers your mastery of the concepts of community and economic development research.
  • CCRs gain understanding into the nuances of community and economic research data that enable them to be more productive researchers.

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How do I become a Certified Community Researcher?

Certification is a two step process:

  1. Applicants must submit a portfolio of work demonstrating that they have acquired the skills necessary for conducting applied community research.

  2. Applicants must select one project that will serve as their thesis.  The subject and methodology of this project must be approved by a peer review panel.  This project may be completed as part of their regular work or as a result of their training/education.  The peer review panel will evaluate the finished thesis, and prospective CCRs are required to give an oral presentation on their work.

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How is my certification work evaluated?

Prospective CCR portfolios will be evaluated based on their demonstration of a broad range of research skills.  Each portfolio must include the following:

  • A description of the applicant’s education and employment background
  • A description of the professional development activities the applicant has participated in
  • A description of the applicant’s management experience
  • A list of the applicant’s professional contributions to the field
  • A description of the applicant’s data collection and management projects
  • A description of the economic and demographic analysis projects the applicant has undertaken
  • A description of the economic development projections the applicant has completed
Each portfolio must include at least five of these eight core items.  Items are assigned points based on the applicant’s activities.  Portfolios must accumulate 35 points for consideration for certification.  To exemplify the applicant's command of basic research skills, a questionnaire must be completed for each project discussing the applicant's use of technology, statistical/research methodology, survey research techniques, and presentation skills.  A full description of the point values is available here.

Portfolios will initially be reviewed by C2ER staff with the advice and consent of the chair of the Certification Committee.  If the point schedule has been met, the portfolio will then be evaluated by a peer review panel for completeness, applicability and accuracy.  The applicant will be notified if the portfolio has been accepted and may then proceed to the thesis project.

Applicants that have successfully completed the portfolio step of the certification process will select a project for a thesis. While the thesis subject matter is of the applicant's own design, the project type/methodology must be selected from the eight "core" portfolio items.  A written summary of the proposed thesis project must be submitted to the peer review panel for approval.  The summary must include:

  • A general description of the project
  • A description of the research methodology to be employed
  • A discussion of the project need and its anticipated use
If the peer review panel chooses to accept the applicant's thesis proposal, the applicant must complete the project within two years from the time of the proposal's acceptance.  A sample outline, acceptable length, and other relevant information will be given to the applicant before they begin work.  A final written summary of the thesis project, 5-20 pages in length, must be submitted along with all supporting documents.  Upon completion of the thesis project, the peer review panel will evaluate the thesis project for thoroughness, appropriate use of methodology, and applicability.  Once the peer review panel has approved the applicant’s thesis project, the applicant must complete an oral presentation of the thesis project at C2ER's Annual Conference or other approved venue.

Applicants who do not meet the established criteria for a successful portfolio, thesis project proposal, or final thesis project will be notified in writing by the chair of the applicant's peer review panel.  Each panelist will write a brief description of any deficiencies along with suggestions for improvement.

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How do I renew my certification?

Recertification is required every five years after initial certification. Activities that count toward recertification include:

  • Mentor a prospective CCR
  • Speak or moderate at a C2ER conference session
  • Participate in a C2ER training class
  • Submit a project for the annual research awards, or be a judge
  • Manage/conduct research for the Cost of Living Index
  • Conduct formal data advocacy for the benefit of the C2ER membership
  • Complete a major research project and share the results

Only one of these options need be completed for recertification; there are no point totals or required elements as for initial certification. There is no fee for recertification. CCRs whose C2ER memberships have lapsed prior to recertification may apply to the Membership Benefits Committee for recertification upon restoring their membership and completing the normal recertification process. Access the Recertification Checklist.

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