Community-Based Participatory Research

Community-based participatory research is a collaborative orientation to research which serves as an applied approach with a goal of influencing change in community health, systems, programs, or policies.


  • Community participation in every phase of the research process
  • Building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between academia and community
  • Decision-making should be done by those most affected by the outcomes of the decision
  • Development of structures and processes by which groups can meet their own needs
  • Empowerment of community members over their own lives
  • Knowledge is not a product of academia, but a result of engagement
  • Development of knowledge should be linked to action, change, and/or advocacy  


  • Recognizes community as a unit of identity.
  • Builds on strengths and resources within the community.
  • Facilitates collaborative partnerships in all phases of the research.
  • Integrates knowledge and action for mutual benefit of all partners.
  • Promotes a co-learning and empowering process that attends to social inequalities.
  • Involves a cyclical and iterative process.
  • Addresses health from both positive and ecological perspectives.
  • Facilitates sustainable programs for greater community benefit.
  • Disseminates findings and knowledge gained to all partners.  


  • Community members are community builders, developing organizations and services within their own communities. In addition, they serve as mediators between professional and lay networks building and maintaining relationships between organizations and communities of interest.  


  • Joins partners with diverse expertise to address complex public health problems
  • Improves intervention design and implementation by facilitating participant recruitment and retention
  • Has the potential to translate research findings to guide the development of further interventions and policy change
  • Benefits the community and researchers alike through the knowledge gained and actions taken
  • Increases trust and bridges cultural gaps between partners
  • Provides resources for the communities involved
  • Increases the quality and validity of research
  • Enhances the relevance and use of data  

National Institutes of Health. Community-Based Participatory Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Ritas, Cassandra. Speaking Truth, Creating Power: A Guide to Policy Work for Community-Based Participatory Research Practitioners. July 2003. Onyx, Jenny. University-Community Engagement: What Does It Mean? Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, 1 (2008): 90-106.