What is community based participatory research?

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative approach to research that starts with and includes community members. It empowers and energizes the community to use its existing strengths and insights, includes the voices of those who have been socially disadvantaged or have suffered historical injustices, and combines these valuable resources with evidence-based research to produce sustainable and measurable policy and programmatic change.


CBPR invites community members to partner with skilled researchers to analyze issues impacting the community and identify potential solutions.


By developing and strengthening relationships among individuals, community groups, nonprofits, businesses, and local government, CBPR takes advantage of a community’s existing strengths to resolve problems, stimulate growth, and increase capacity for implementing positive community change.


CBPR is often effective in addressing issues involving social and structural inequities because of the ways that it challenges the power dynamics of traditional research and includes those most affected by a community issue in defining the problems and solutions to that issue.

Some examples:

CBPR approach

The CBPR approach brings together the expertise of the community—empowering citizens to define problems and explore solutions for themselves – with the expertise of skilled researchers who can draw on existing bodies of research and devise ways of measuring outcomes to help ensure that new programs or policies work to meet community goals.


How can you get involved?

If you would like to be interviewed as part of this project, please click here to register. If the form doesn’t work for you, please call Jennifer James at 413-458-3500 extension 117.