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Creating a better future for communities through research

What is Community Based Research?

The term community based research is increasingly being used across a variety of settings. But what does it mean? We at CCBR, together with our partners, have developed the following working definition.

Community based research is research that strives to be:

Community situated -begins with a research topic of practical relevance to the community (as opposed to individual scholars) and is carried out in community settings.

Collaborative -community members and researchers equitably share control of the research agenda through active and reciprocal involvement in the research design, implementation and dissemination.

Action-oriented -the process and results are useful to community members in making positive social change and to promote social equity.

Hallmarks of community based research

  • The relevance of the research topic is identified or verified by community members.
  • The resources of research (financial, expertise, etc.) are shared with community members, particularly those most affected by the research topic.
  • The research process recognizes and utilizes the expertise that community members have.
  • The research process recognizes and addresses power imbalances between researchers and community members.
  • The research process is driven by values, including: empowerment, supportive relationships, social change, learning as an ongoing process and respect for diversity.
  • The research process and results are accessible and understandable to community members.
  • The research process and results consider and adapt to the context in which the research is conducted.
  • The research leaves a legacy, both in terms of the utilization of research results, as well as in the future collaboration among partners.

See CCBR mission and values, and principles for related information.