Community-Based Research

“Community-based research is research that is conducted with and for, not on, members of a community.”
(Kerry Strand. 2003. Community-Based Research and Higher Education: Principles and Practices, p. xxi)

What is Community-Based Research (CBR)? 

  • CBR is an approach to research that is an equitable partnership between researchers and community members (those living with experience)​.

  • CBR aims to increase knowledge on a topic deemed to be important to the community​. 

  • The goal of CBR is social action and social change to further social justice. 

CBR v. Traditional Academic Research (1).jpg

Why Community-Based Research (CBR)? 

Researchers working in fields related to HIV/AIDS are turning to CBR approaches that promote an interdisciplinary framework and are more equipped to capture the multiple sociopolitical, economic, and health factors that put certain communities at disproportionate risk for HIV/AIDS. CBR affords widescale benefits to both academic researchers and community stakeholders. 

  • Benefits to academic researchers: The incorporation of local and community voices throughout the research process is of critical importance. The UN’s “Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) Principles” were formalized in 1994, which countless community members and researchers working in diverse international context have strengthened over time. Creating strong partnerships with community members can facilitate better recruitment of research participants. Recognizing multiple realities and sources of knowledge can increase the validity of the findings.

  • Benefits to communities: Community-based research that engages local members in setting research directions can influence policy decisions and improve their local members’ own practices and service-delivery. By partnering with academic and other research experts, community agencies can gain opportunities for capacity building in areas such as grant writing and evaluation skills. Further, community-based research affords communities the opportunity to establish their research priorities and promote equitable access to knowledge and information. Additionally, principles of CBR may reduce traditional power divides between researchers and community members, as the latter are treated as equal partners in research rather than subjects of research.