Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
"Environmental health research should
with a community not simply on a community."
The concept of doing research with a community is what community-based participatory research (CBPR)is all about. CBPR is is a collaborative approach to research. It requires the involvement of the community affected by the issue being studied so that they too can benefit from the researchers’ findings. Meet the Community Advisory Board for CARES.
CBPR involves co-learning and sharing of experience and knowledge between the community and the scientific researchers. Additionally, the community and the scientific researchers share decision-making powers.
Why is CBPR important?
CBPR allows you and other members of your community a chance to see the research firsthand. As the name implies, the community is central to the research. This allows you to feel very involved in each step. When your community feels that their input is significant, they are more likely to give meaningful feedback and collaborate. Collaboration between your community and the researchers will improve the insight of both parties. A close relationship will result in a smoother process.
Why is this type of study being used?
CBPR allows you to be involved! When you and members of your community provide feedback at each step, negative effects to the community are reduced. This type of research creates a bridge for knowledge to pass between community members and researchers.
Where else has CBPR been used?
CBPR is being used more often, especially when studies are focused on environmental health issues. One example is a study done on asthma triggers in Seattle, Washington. During this study, researchers pointed out that every research situation is unique. They found that study worked best when both sides of the research shared responsibility with each other. When successful, CBPR can lead to long term jobs and opportunities throughout the community.
What are my responsibilities as a community member?
Community involvement and cooperation is essential for successful CBPR studies. You should
inform yourself about the existing issues, the study’s tests, and the results. This can be done by reading the provided educational material and attending as many community/researcher forums as possible. These forums allow you and your community’s leaders to bring any questions and concerns to the researchers. Researchers will explain tests being run and the progress of the research. Additionally, researchers will provide contact information in case residents have questions later.
Figure 1: Visual Representation of CBPR.
Figure 1 shows what an integral part the community plays during CBPR. The Community Advisory Board (CAB) is made up of area residents and local community leaders, such as government officials, physicians, homemakers, and local college professors. You can cooperate by providing your contact information to the researchers.
Additionally, if a son or daughter is eligible to participate in the study please provide his/her
information to the researchers. This will then lead to your cooperation with the researchers when they come to collect biological material from your child (hair, nails, or teeth) and when they evaluate his/her general intellectual functioning, memory, executive functions, behavior,
neuromotor skills, and academic achievement. Personal interviews will be conducted before and during the research.
Lastly, you must ask questions.(Contact Us here.)Without asking questions, we will not know what has caused confusion and therefore cannot meet your needs.
Figure 2: Importance of communicatio in the CBPR process.