WHAT IS COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH?

Community-based research is done with communities, not on or about communities. It is an approach to research (not a single research method) that is community-driven, participatory, and action-oriented. Community-based research is gaining traction around the world and draws on rich global research traditions. Hover over the boxes to learn more.

Participatory
Community Driven
Community Driven

Community-based research begins with a research topic of practical relevance to the community (as opposed to researchers) and leads to community self-determination. This hallmark honours Indigenous research traditions.

Participatory

Community members and researchers share control of the research agenda through reciprocal involvement throughout the research. This hallmark honours the research traditions of the global South.

 Action  Oriented
 Action  Oriented

The process and results of the research are useful to community members in making positive social change. This hallmark honours the research traditions of the global North.

"A research approach that involves active participation of stakeholders, those whose lives are affected by the issue being studied, in all phases of research for the purpose of producing useful results to make positive changes."

Nelson, Ochocka, Griffin & Lord, 1998, p.12

GOALS OF COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH

1.Producing Knowledge

  Gaining new insights through systematic and rigorous research

2. Mobilizing Knowledge

Sharing what has been learned in ways that enable people to use the research results

3. Mobilizing People

Building stronger relationships among stakeholders so that they can use research learnings to address societal issues

STRIVING FOR RELEVANCE AND EXCELLENCE

  • Community-based research tries to understand issues of importance and relevance to community members and other stakeholders

  • Community-based research also tries to do research well and follow rigorous standards of quality

  • See this tool to assess the quality and impact of your community-based research project or proposal

 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Traditional Research

Community-Based Research

  • Topic of relevance to the community

  • Stakeholders direct the research

  • End result is to work towards change

  • Topic of curiosity for researcher

  • Researchers control the agenda

  • End result is only to produce knowledge

KEY TERMS

Stakeholder - A person who has some investment or interest in the topic being studied

 

Community Partner - A community group that is actively involved in the issue under study and agrees to participate in the research project

 

Steering Committee - A group of stakeholders who meet regularly to guide the research project

 

Participant - Someone who is taking part (or participating) in the research data gathering

 

Informed Consent - Participants have given their agreement to be involved after knowing what the research is about and its risks and benefits

MORE ABOUT COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH

Check out the resources on our Support page. Or click the video below.