Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Definition: a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves community members, organization representatives and researchers. CBPR has eight principles: 1. research must be locally relevant; 2. development, implementation, evaluation plans must benefit the community; 3. it must enhance community capacity; 4. all partners are involved in the research process; 5. project is conducted vie open communication; 6. research is produced, interpreted and disseminated to community members in clear useful respectful language; 7. there is a joint agreement on the access and location of data; 8. research adheres to human participants review process. (Chavez & all, 2004)
Apply: community based participatory research can be used in community development for drafting a community profile (Ledwith, 2005, Ch 2). by using this type of research the profile will represent not only an description by an outside observer, but a storyline that is representative of the the views of community members vis-a-vis their own community. also, because this type of community profile would be a process of discovery and self-analysis for community members as well as the researchers involved it would contribute to defining a community identity that all members that believe in.
Adapt: a community profile, or better said a demographic and economic profile of a given locality, is something that planners will include in every planning effort as the basis for their subsequent proposals. i believe that a community profile that is done based on the principles of CBPR can greatly improve the analysis and proposals of planners by moving away from the "average community member" to a more nuanced view of a given neighborhood, town, city. this would result in more customized proposals, and plans that reflect the views of people who are supposed to at least support the implementation of plans. the downside, of course, is the extensive time and money cost, which may be prohibitive for many planning efforts.


  1. Apply: Community based participatory research can be used in community development for activating a capacity focused approached. By using participatory research, community members can be responsible for conducting research within their own communities with respect to the relevant skills and assets that community members (and the community as a whole) can bring to the table. By using community based participatory research to gather this information, members will likely be more willing and open to working with those conducting the research and will more willingly provide the data and information needed to complete the evaluation.

    Adapt: Community based participatory research can be utilized in the educational realm, especially in an adult learning context, by allowing students to develop, implement, and evaluate the learning objectives of the class and the achievement of those objectives in order to enhance the effectiveness of the learning process and/or to better meet the needs and interests of the students (if the research shows that the learning objectives are not aligned with the students’ goals). By utilizing community based participatory research in a classroom settings, the traditional teacher-student roles in which teachers exclusively and independently determine what is taught and learned is replaced by open lines of communication between teachers and students. Additionally, this type of research strongly supports the development of agency, leadership, and accountability among students through increased self-awareness and responsibility in assessing the productivity and effectiveness of the education they are receiving.

  2. Apply: A way Community Based Participatory Research has been used in social work is video making. That is allowing members to be involved in filming their own lives, drawing out themes, introducing key stakeholders, and taking action to improve their community.

    Adapt: Like wise participatory research has changed the nature of films in particular documentaries which have taken on the challenge of incorporating participants more in the process rather than filming as an outside observer.