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
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
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.