Primary Menu

Education, Events, Publication

Funding & Recognition

Home Community Engaged Research 6 Fundamentals of Community-Based Research

6 Fundamentals of Community-Based Research

  • CBR is driven by goals and values that are explicitly shared among partners. Partners come to agreement on shared goals. These usually include both addressing community priorities or social issues and adding to academic knowledge. Partners also agree on shared values for the project. While values may differ across projects, there are some values inherent in CBR. For example, CBR values diverse ways of knowing and types of expertise.

  • CBR builds on the strengths, knowledge, and cultures of the communities involved. Academics and communities bring knowledge, expertise, skills, and other gifts to research. CBR projects identify and build on the strengths of communities, and are designed to be inclusive of community cultures. This requires partners to understand and affirm the diverse cultures around the table, while recognizing their own cultural assumptions and biases.

  • Partners share power and work together to develop and carry out CBR. CBR is about researching with people rather than on people. While partners often play different roles, nobody is left out of key decisions. Collaboration requires open and regular communication. It may require interpretation across languages and cultures. It demands we acknowledge power dynamics and work to share power

  • All partners should see benefits from the process and outcomes of CBR. Just as all partners contribute to CBR, all partners benefit. Benefits may go to individuals, organizations, communities, society, or the land. Partners decide for themselves what benefits they want to see and what risks they will take. This principle shifts the usually unequal distribution of benefits between academics and communities. 

  • CBR requires open, trusting, ongoing relationships. CBR requires relationships built on honesty, trust, and learning from one another. Without relationships, the other principles are not possible. There are people who can jump-start and support the relationship building process, but it still takes time and effort: showing up, being genuine, and being accountable. Relationship building needs to be worked into a research plan and timeline.

  • CBR is shared in ways that are accessible and useful to all partners. The results of CBR are meant to be used by the community and contribute to academic knowledge. That means creating products for multiple audiences. Community-facing products can be used to support advocacy, practice, program design, education, etc. Products need to be timely and in formats that fit the cultures of the communities.

For in-depth Community-Based Research Guidelines, read In It Together from the Community Research Collaborative.