Community-Based Participatory Research
- LAST REVIEWED: 09 August 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0126
- LAST REVIEWED: 09 August 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0126
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an approach in which researchers undertake research in partnership with those affected by the issue being studied, for the purpose of taking action or effecting social change; it can also incorporate those who will use the results to change practice and inform policy. This collaborative research approach brings together a wide variety of participants, with their own expertise and their own networks for contributing to the process and disseminating the research findings. CBPR promotes research with communities rather than research on or about communities. “Community” has been described as a group of people sharing a common interest. Cultural, social, political, health, or economic interests link the individuals, who may or may not share a particular geographic association. Thus, community includes many different possibilities, and in the early 21st century it has been also expanded to include communities of practice. The CBPR approach is increasingly recognized as a highly effective method of enhancing relevance and value to health research, and of increasing the uptake of research results. CBPR combines research with education and co-learning to democratize the knowledge production, thus affecting the relevance and quality of the knowledge and the likelihood that it will influence change. The core values include cooperation, with equal contributions from everyone present, and co-learning; promoting systems development; capacity building; and empowerment. Equally important goals are to undertake high-quality research with a high level of scientific rigor, to answer questions and provide benefit to all those working in the partnerships, and to develop knowledge and action that is applicable to other settings. Levels and types of participation vary across research projects, but at all times partners should be working to develop an equitable partnership. In some partnerships, researchers and partners jointly make decisions throughout the research process, including the key processes of finalizing the research question(s), collecting and analyzing data, interpreting the findings, and disseminating the results. Because CBPR is an approach to research (and not a method), it employs all the methods appropriate to the research design, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.
There is a very long and varied list of terms used by different countries and different disciplines for various forms of participatory and collaborative research. Cornwall and Jewkes 1995 and Minkler and Wallerstein 2003 provide comprehensive reviews of participatory methodologies and terminologies, with attention to regional differences and critical challenges. In the field of public health, the term “community-based participatory research” (CBPR) is frequently used in the United States, while “action research” appears more frequently in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Other terms include “participatory research,” “participatory action research,” “emancipatory action research,” “community-partnered research,” “collaborative inquiry,” “participatory rural appraisal,” and many, many others. This is particularly relevant when conducting literature searches. Participatory action research, one of the founding approaches of modern participatory research, is explored in Baum, et al. 2006 in relation to the many concepts associated with its use. Ledwith 2007, in describing emancipatory action research, provides an example of how participatory methods have evolved. Key components of all partnered research are the quality of the process, shared goals, and mutual respect of those on the team. With the current emphasis on promoting knowledge translation and increasing the uptake of research results, Graham, et al. 2006 describes how research teams are now applying the partnership principles of CBPR to also include the end users—those who will be using the results—in the research process. The new terms currently emerging in North America include “community engagement,” “citizen engagement,” “public engagement,” “translational science,” “knowledge translation,” “campus-community partnerships,” and “integrated knowledge translation.” Trickett and Espino 2004 looks beyond the terms used to consider process, structural, and ethical issues common to all models of collaboration, as well as the limits of collaboration.
Baum, Fran, Colin MacDougall, and Danielle Smith. 2006. Participatory action research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60.10: 854–857.
This glossary from Australia aims to clarify some of the key concepts associated with participatory action research.
Cornwall, Andrea, and Rachel Jewkes. 1995. What is participatory research? Social Science & Medicine 41.12: 1667–1676.
Although it was written in 1995, this remains an important comprehensive review of participatory methodologies popularized in health research, focusing on issues of control over research process. History of participatory research and its many uses beyond North America and the United Kingdom are addressed. Problematizing “participation,” the authors explore challenges and dilemmas of participatory practice.
Graham, Ian D., Jo Logan, Margaret B. Harrison, et al. 2006. Lost in knowledge translation: Time for a map? Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 26.1: 13–24.
Definitions of knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, knowledge exchange, research utilization, implementation, diffusion, and dissemination are clarified. A conceptual framework to describe the knowledge-to-action process is provided, underscoring the importance of identifying relevant stakeholders and cultivating appropriate relationships with them to allow for an exchange of knowledge.
Ledwith, Margaret. 2007. On being critical: Uniting theory and practice through emancipatory action research. Educational Action Research 15.4: 597–611.
Relying heavily on the work of Paulo Freire, Ledwith provides a good overview of how emancipatory action research has evolved as a participatory research method. She draws on her experience in community development in order to explore what being critical means in participatory approaches.
Minkler, Meredith, and Nina Wallerstein. 2003. Introduction to community-based participatory research. In Community-based participatory research for health. Edited by Meredith Minkler and Nina Wallerstein, 3–26. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
An excellent overview of regional differences in terminology, strongly suggesting that it is the core values that carry the greatest importance and not the terminology.
Trickett, Edison J., and Susan L. R. Espino. 2004. Collaboration and social inquiry: Multiple meanings of a construct and its role in creating useful and valid knowledge. American Journal of Community Psychology 34.1–2: 1–69.
Monograph provides an overview of the meaning of collaboration and related terms (empowerment, participatory action research, action research, partnership, etc.). Addresses epistemological, pragmatic, and ideological concerns, processes (e.g., trust, roles) common to all collaboration models, with structural (e.g., funding) and ethical (e.g., stigmatizing community) issues. Highlights limits of collaboration. Includes recommendations intended to place collaboration at center of community research and intervention.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion