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Community-based participatory research

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves, for example, community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process and in which all partners contribute expertise and share decision making and ownership.[1][2] The aim of CBPR is to increase knowledge and understanding of a given phenomenon and integrate the knowledge gained with interventions and policy and social change to improve the health and quality of life of community members.[1][2]


The historical roots of CBPR generally trace back to the development of participatory action research by Kurt Lewin and Orlando Fals Borda, and the popular education movement in Latin America associated with Paulo Freire.[3][4]

In CBPR projects, the community participates fully in all aspects of the research process.[5] CBPR projects start with the community. Community is often self-defined, but general categories of community include geographic community, community of individuals with a common problem or issue, or a community of individuals with a common interest or goal. CBPR encourages collaboration of “formally trained research” partners from any area of expertise, provided that the researcher provide expertise that is seen as useful to the investigation by the community, and be fully committed to a partnership of equals and producing outcomes usable to the community.

Equitable partnerships require sharing power, resources, credit, results, and knowledge, as well as a reciprocal appreciation of each partner's knowledge and skills at each stage of the project, including problem definition/issue selection, research design, conducting research, interpreting the results, and determining how the results should be used for action. CBPR differs from traditional research in many ways. One of the principal ways in which it is different is that instead of creating knowledge for the advancement of a field or for knowledge's sake, CBPR is an iterative process, incorporating research, reflection, and action in a cyclical process.


  • Methods for Community-Based Participatory Research for Health This thoroughly revised and updated second edition of Methods for Community-Based Participatory Research for Health provides a step-by-step approach to the application of participatory approaches to quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis. With contributions from a distinguished panel of experts, this important volume shows how researchers, practitioners, and community partners can work together to establish and maintain equitable partnerships using a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to increase knowledge and improve the health and well-being of the communities involved.
  • The Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center (Detroit URC) is a long-standing Community-Based Participatory Research partnership working to provide economic and public health benefits focused on eliminating health inequities in Detroit. The Detroit URC focuses on enhancing understanding of the relationship between the social and physical environmental determinants of health, and translating that knowledge into public health interventions, programs, and policies that build upon community resources and strengths.
  • Cofundos aims at establishing a prediction market for funding of participatory research.
  • Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
  • Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action- The mission of the Journal is to facilitate dissemination of programs that use community partnerships to improve public health, to promote progress in the methods of research and education involving community health partnerships, and to stimulate action that will improve the health of people in communities. Communities, as defined by the Journal, may be based on geography, shared interests, or social networks. The Journal is dedicated to supporting the work of community health partnerships that involve ongoing collaboration between community representatives and academic or governmental partners. This area of research and evaluation may be referred to as community-based participatory research (CBPR). The W. K. Kellogg Foundation defines CBPR as a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.
  • Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved The Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU) is an academic journal founded in 1990 by David Satcher, MD, PhD then President of Meharry Medical College (later, U.S. Surgeon General). JHCPU is published by Johns Hopkins University Press for Meharry, and is affiliated with the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved. It is the premier journal covering the health and health care of medically underserved populations in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Participatory Research, Community Development and Drug Misuse (1)(2)
  • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): A Partnership Approach for Public Health is a free training resource available from the Michigan Public Health Training Center and the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center. This training resource is intended as an introduction to CBPR for people who are in the early stages of using or considering using CBPR. It is designed for academic researchers from multiple fields, including public health, education, nursing, medicine, social work, urban planning, and for health and human service practitioners, and members of community-based organizations.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Israel, B.A., Schulz, A.J., Parker, E.A., & Becker, A.B. (1998). Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 19, 173-202.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Israel, B.A., Schulz, A.J., Parker, E.A., Becker, A.B., Allen, A., & Guzman, J.R. (2008). Critical issues in developing and following CBPR Principles. In M. Minkler & N. Wallerstein (Eds.), Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (2nd ed., pp. 47-66). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  3. Wallerstein, N. and B. Duran (2003). The Conceptual, Historical and Practical Roots of Community Based Participatory Research and Related Participatory Traditions.
  4. Community Based Participatory Research for Health. M. Minkler and N. Wallerstein. San Francisco, Jossey Bass: 27-52
  5. Minkler and Wallerstein, ed. (2008). Community-Based Participatory Research for Health: From Process to Outcomes. ISBN 978-0-470-26043-2. 

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