- HOW TO SET UP A PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH AGENDA
- HOW TO ADVOCATE YOUR IDEA AND SET UP A PROJECT PROPOSAL: CAPACITY BUILDING FOR CSOS
- HOW TO CO-CREATE COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH
- HOW TO EMBED RRI IN CITIZEN SCIENCE
- HOW TO INCORPORATE RRI IN SCIENCE ENGAGEMENT ORGANISATIONS
How to co-create community-based participatory research
This short section does not offer a general recipe or a manual for the co-creation of community-based participatory research (CBPR). Instead it offers inspiration for your first engagement with this topic. The number of relevant resources in the RRI Toolkit and beyond is much larger than shown here, and many more resources and experiences will be uploaded as the Community of Practice continues to grow.
Definition and principles of CBPR
Community-based participatory research ”is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves, for example, community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process and in which all partners contribute expertise and share decision making and ownership. The aim of CBPR is to increase knowledge and understanding of a given phenomenon and integrate the knowledge gained with interventions and policy and social change to improve the health and quality of life of community members.”
CBPR's approach is characterized by ”(a) recognizing the community as a unit of identity, (b) building on the strengths and resources of the community, (c) promoting co-learning among research partners, (d) achieving a balance between research and action that mutually benefits both science and the community, (e) emphasizing the relevance of community-defined problems, (f) employing a cyclical and iterative process to develop and maintain community/research partnerships, (g) disseminating knowledge gained from the CBPR project to and by all involved partners, and (h) requiring long-term commitment on the part of all partners.”
CBPR's strengths ”are that it allows for the innovative adaptation of existing resources; explores local knowledge and perceptions; empowers people by considering them agents who can investigate their own situations; the community input makes the project credible; (...) joins research participants who have varied skills, knowledge, and expertise to address complex problems in complex situations; provides resources for the involved communities; (...) provides a forum that can bridge across cultural differences among the participants; and helps dismantle the lack of trust communities may exhibit in relation to research.” Additional benefits of CBPR are listed in this CBPR skill-building curriculum by The Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Group.
Participatory methods in CBPR ”include a range of activities with a common thread: enabling people to play an active and influential part in decisions that affect their lives.” Researchers, community members, activists and donors can all use participatory methods and conduct inclusive research. To find the participatory methods best suited to each specific need, check out the Participatory Methods Toolkit, the Participation Compass or the Action Catalogue, a decision support tool developed by Engage2020. Another option is Participedia, which offers a database of participatory political processes for researchers and practitioners. Recent attention has been directed towards particular methodologies of community-focused cooperation between civil society and those involved in research and innovation or teaching (e.g., scenario workshops, citizen science, science shops). The Sparks project, which is conducting participatory activities in many European countries, will produce a fact sheet on both the scenario workshop and the science shop methodologies, including guidelines on how to connect these methodologies with science exhibitions. They will be online by June 2016.
Resources for co-creating a CBPR project are manifold. They include tools for learning about the needs and interests of the community and people you would like to involve in activities, as well as evaluation and assessment guidelines, engagement handbooks, communication tips and links to additional sources of help and support through networks and databases. Starting points for exploration can be the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health’s (CCPH) toolkits and databases, the online curriculum for developing and sustaining effective CBPR partnerships, the CBPR Training Manual, the Science Shop Toolbox, the UK National Centre for Public Engagement’s EDGE Self-Assessment questionnaire for universities and the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
Learning from others
The projects and experiences of national or international consortia can highlight various engagement and CBPR methodologies. Xplore Health showcases an innovative educational infrastructure, while PERARES is a good example of how science shops can facilitate cooperation with civil society organisations to generate research ideas, questions and agendas. Other outstanding projects provide insights on citizen science (GEWISS), service learning (UNIAKTIV), curriculum development in higher education institutions (EnRRICH and HEIRRI), and children as change agents (SiS Catalyst) or show how various public engagement methodologies can be combined with science exhibitions (Sparks project). A different but still interesting approach was taken by the University of Groningen, with its project to answer 400 questions in 400 days.
Networks are among the most effective models for collaboration. They offer a forum, an information clearinghouse and a vehicle to promote collective, bilateral and individual action by stakeholders. Networks encourage communication, cooperation and coordinated action while optimizing flexibility, participation and creativity. When planning a CBPR project, creativity and efficiency can be increased by consulting and involving local, national or international networks, such as the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), Living Knowledge International Science Shops Network, CCPH, Community Based Research Canada, or the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education. Networks are also helpful for sharing your own findings, files or resources.