A big thank you to researchers who participated in the research conducted on this blog. As promised, the findings are now available from the publisher’s website here.
As a brief preview the article abstract is included below.
Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) has been proposed as an equitable, empowering partnership approach to collaborative research. International literature about the ethical implications of CBPR suggests a continuing strong interest in the topic. However, there is a notable lack of research that captures the experience of ethical challenges of researchers from different countries who engage in CBPR. The aim of this research was to address this lack of evidence by exploring researchers’ experience of ethical challenges in CBPR at an international level. An innovative data collection method was designed utilising a purpose-built blog. Balancing participant protection and autonomy, partnership tensions, and enduring impacts of the researcher role emerged as the main themes. These findings illustrate the specific conflicts faced by researchers engaged in CBPR. This is largely as a result of the complexities of CBPR coupled with rigid ethics committee review that does not always take into account the more fluid nature of the approach.
Wilson, E., Kenny, A., & Dickson-Swift, V. (2017). Ethical challenges of community based participatory research: exploring researchers’ experience, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2017.1296714.
This site remains open for researchers who wish to share their insights, resources, or viewpoints on this topic.
It would be great to know what you think. Please share your comment, feedback and suggestions in the section below.
Did you receive formal training prior to your CBPR fieldwork?
YES ? NO ?
If not, it seems you are not alone.
In a recent survey conducted by the UNESCO Chair in CBR and Social Responsibility in Higher Education (2015) findings show that “most respondents have not had any formal learning experience in participatory research” (p.10) and “16% of respondents were never trained to do CBR” (p.10). The survey attracted 413 responses from 60 countries and predominantly from members of higher education institutions and a small number of civil society organisations.
For the purpose of the survey, CBR was conceptualised as participatory research which “originates in the community and flows back to the civil society” (p.8).
Considering the complexity of CBPR and the ethical challenges that can arise, it is necessary to prepare researchers with appropriate CBPR capabilities. However it is insufficient to do this solely through researchers’ self-directed learning (56.9% of respondents) and on-the-job training (47% of respondents).
The survey highlights a strong interest in receiving more training opportunities in CBR around the world, across a range of training modalities and settings. The survey is the first part of the Next Gen project, (Building the Next Generation of Community-based Researchers) which aims to increase access to high quality training in CBR within higher education institutions and civil society organizations.
I think that this commitment to a global approach for understanding and preparing the next generation of researchers is timely, given the ongoing interest in the challenges of conducting CBPR and the often cited need for training.
The report, including the survey schedule, findings and recommendations can be found at the link below:
Global Trends in Training Community-based Research in Higher Education Institutions and Civil Society Organizations: Survey Results – July 2015 (Prepared by Walter Lepore Coordinator, Next Gen Project, UNESCO Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education)
The terms are often used interchangeably as well as signifying two different types of research. There are various explanations and definitions depending on which country you are in and which discipline your research takes place in.
I settled on two well-known texts written by my favourite authors on the topic of community based participatory research in health.
- Israel, B. A., Eng, E., Schulz, A. J., & Parker, E. A. (2013). Methods for Community-Based Participatory Research for Health (2nd ed.). San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (Eds.). (2008). Community-based participatory research for health: from process to outcomes. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
A third text set out nicely the main features to be found in action research.
- Koshy, E., Waterman, H., & Koshy, V. (2011). Action research in healthcare. London: SAGE.
This is what I think these texts are telling us.
- is also known as PAR, community-based study, co-operative enquiry, action science and action learning (Koshy et al. (2011)
- is mostly conducted in collaborative teams, a community of enquiry, that includes service users who are not researched on, but collaborate within the research team.
- is participatory and collaborative
- “no one set of CBPR principles is applicable to all partnerships” (Israel et al., 2013 p. 7)
- key concepts of CBPR are participation, emancipatory knowledge and power relations
- CBPR involves the interconnected goals of research, action and education
Israel et al. (2013) list PAR as one of several collaborative research approaches which have progressively been termed CBPR, particularly in health related fields. PAR grew from social movements and emphasized the importance of voice (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008).
Minkler & Wallerstein (2008) describe CBPR as a continuum of approaches ranging from action research which is based in the practical problem-solving work of Kurt Lewin and the ‘more revolutionary’ Freirian tradition based on emancipatory education. They use the term CBPR as an umbrella term for an orientation to research and practice which stresses respectful engagement with communities in combining research with education and action for change.
Action research, to varying degrees, involves people affected by a problem, in practical problem solving through a cyclical process of fact finding, action, and evaluation, and sits at the starting point of the continuum. The common thread seems to be that participatory approaches such as action research and CBPR are committed to engagement and power-sharing with community partners in the research process so that communities benefit from the research (Israel et al., 2013) .
Minkler and Wallerstein (2008) suggest that CBPR is a term being used to signify collaborative research approaches, ranging from action research to PAR, with the gold standard for ending health disparities being at the emancipatory end of the continuum.
Elena Wilson 2015
Thank you to all researchers who contributed to the conversation on this blog as participants in my research project. Your contributions up to October 2015 comprise the data for my research. Findings will be made available right here at a later date.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Please continue to visit here from time to time. This blog will remain open for researchers to connect with each other to discuss some of the ups and downs of being a researcher using collaborative participatory approaches and to offer suggestions, advice and support.
Images above: Flickr: Nadia & Casey, SSWJ, Tony Cuozzo, Pedro Ribeiro Simoes, Brendan O Se`
As a result of the recruitment challenges I experienced in my project I have compiled some suggestions that could be useful to CBPR researchers who are planning for the recruitment phase of their study.
1. Clarify expectations
Clarity about expectations of all parties in the partnership well before commencing is important. Clarifying formal research protocols to the research partner (organisation) can help in gaining cooperation to achieve recruitment goals as will the explicit statements from the research partner about its expectations from the research and the researchers.
2. Identify key community members
Identify and get to know key community members. They are able to take on the role of mediator to physically introduce researchers and the research to people in their networks and to confirm the identity and trustworthiness of the researchers. Personal introductions by a community member who is well liked and respected, can be more valuable to the community for understanding the presence of the researchers and the project, than written information and consent form.
3. Be specific
Avoid promoting the research project with a nebulous or too broad a topic. People seem to engage with research less reluctantly if there is a more specific topic being discussed, and once engaged the opportunity opens up for exploring topics further afield.
4. Do CBPR training
The complexities involved in managing a relationship with a partner organization and the community, highlight the importance of training for CBPR researchers prior to commencing contact with members of the community they are to research with. Being armed with knowledge of potential recruitment pitfalls with particular communities, means that the researcher would be better placed to plan for these and therefore design the research and ethics application to include a broader range of recruitment options so that ethics requirements do not impede or prolong recruitment.
Image: Jim Frazier: Flickr.com