CBPR - Community-Based Participatory Research: Practical Tools and Structures

Whether new to or experienced with engaging communities in research, investigators are challenged by the inevitable tensions between scientific requirements for rigor and control, and communitarian demands for participation and transparency. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is often complicated by multi-layered partnerships, based in power relations negotiated between diverse groups (each with specific histories, politics, and cultures), while being regulated by external forces of research governance. What is distinctive about CBPR is a set of principles to guide the openness, fluidity, and unpredictability of a collaborative approach to research.

Through conducting CBPR since 1991, our team of academic and community-based investigators has developed and used practical tools and structures for CBPR partners to:

  • define a common vocabulary to discuss power and inequities
  • codify equitable decision-making power
  • anticipate and manage conflict
  • approve and co-author findings and publications
  • establish alternate institutional ethical review processes

In this course, we will use a blend of brief lectures, discussions, and interactive exercises to stimulate thinking creatively about CBPR tools and structures, and apply the results to our own work. For example, to analyze and guide our practice in applying CBPR principles, you will receive a “real life” case of a community-academic partnership engaged in using the qualitative research method of critical incident technique interview to explore if African American and White women, diagnosed and treated with breast cancer at the same facility, received cancer care that was the same. We are enthusiastic about the potential for co-learning.