Research Ideas

Priorities and ideas from other researchers that you can incorporate in your work.


In 2011-12, CCA and CCCM collected 50 surveys from researchers, co-op practitioners and research centres. These surveys identified the top priorities for future research.

New types of emerging co-operatives

working-together-3-1238409-639x852Additional interest could be in multi-stakeholder co-operatives and co-operatives providing local services in rural areas. Furthermore, an interest in co-operatives developing in new sector. Thirdly, there is a need to look into best practices in innovative co-operatives as well as new models of international partnerships among co-operatives (networks, consortiums, etc.).

Member engagement and loyalty

A few key interests emerging from the survey with regards to this priority were: voluntary behaviour, reciprocity, co-operative identity, cohesion and member/employee satisfaction.

Youth (16-30) engagement in the co-operative movement

Additionally, the importance of knowing how youth are engaged on co-operative boards of directors.

Contribution of the co-operative model to the socio-economic development of population groups

Specifically looking at the impact of co-operatives on families, seniors, youth skill development, recent immigrants and aboriginal communities.

Sustainable development in our co-ops

african-craft-market-1447505-640x480Including sustainability reporting for co-operatives and developing greater understanding of sustainable business practices.

Comparing the financial performance of co-ops to that of the private sector 

Looking at traditional and non-traditional growth metrics and how co-operatives perform in various sectors against the private sector.

Public policies aimed at co-operatives

Specifically, social, economic and agricultural policy related to co-operatives. Furthurmore, an interest in the resource utilisation theory applied to public policy aimed at co-operatives or a look at how co-operatives position themselves with respect to public policy.

Governance models and board composition

Specifically, organizational democracy, and interest in collective approaches to micro-business development using peer group models.

Co-operative theory in the contemporary context

Applying co-operative theory to the three following topics: international co-operative networks, human capital (the co-operative model as a tool to serve humans) and social justice.

The international dimension

Sub-topics of inquiry included how co-operative business, solidarity and politics are being globalized; exploration of contributions of the co-operative movement to a “fair” (équitable) globalization process; and research into management practices of co-operative managers from various countries.

Ideas emerging from the 2013 strategic co-op research meetings


  • Succession planning
  • Local service-delivery
  • Co-operative innovation for regional development
  • Health co-operatives
  • Mergers and federations
  • Educating for co-operation (schools who do co-op education engaging with co-ops)
  • Management and governance

Focus on research on co-ops and international development

  • Transfer of best practices on raising capital
  • Social innovation drivers
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Management of natural resources by co-ops
  • Co-op governance, member participation
  • Youth engagement, employment (informal-formal)
  • Non-hierarchal models/consensus
  • Education (students, general public, policy makers)
  • Appropriate technology in developing nations (social innovation)
  • Informal to formal economies
  • Food sovereignty
  • Worker co-op development and the role of unions
  • Purchasing policies/procurement
  • Ongoing sustainability of co-ops once started
  • Savings clubs and credit unions
  • Governments creating enabling environments (what does this look like?)
  • Supply chain (co-ops in the value chain)
  • Producer co-ops adding value
  • Gender/participation of women in co-ops/economic empowerment
uSask's Top Co-op Issues of 2016

The University of Saskatchewan’s Center for the Study of Co-operatives release a list each year with some of the top issues the co-op sector faces. These issues can serve as inspiration for topics of research or help contextualize your work. Click the picture to see a pdf version.


Read the 2012 Report

Synthesis report on co-operative research priorities