- Community-situated. It begins with a research topic of practical relevance to the community (as opposed to individual scholars) and is carried out in community settings.
- Collaborative. Community members and researchers equitably share control of the research agenda through active and reciprocal involvement in the research design, implementation and dissemination.
- Action-oriented. The process and results are useful to community members in making positive social change and in promoting social equity.
Two examples of Community-Based Research:
Participatory Action Research (PAR) strategies involve the participants as co-researchers. Unlike the top-down – researcher as one with the knowledge – in this method, the participant is seen as a contributor to the research process.
PAR is collaborative, critical, participatory, and developmental. It:
- focuses on enabling key stakeholders to address problems they see as important.
- is concerned with research alongside stakeholders rather than doing research about them.
- is concerned with achieving ongoing improvements rather than once-off solutions.
- links theory and practice and calls for rigorous critical thinking on the part of all involved.
- aims for ownership of the whole development process by agency stakeholders.
- argues that each specific change should be determined by those who will be affected by it.
Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) is a transdisciplinary community-based research methodology that integrates digital tools, narrative interviewing, and participatory protocols for knowledge production (Dennis, Gaulocher, Carpiano, & Brown, 2009). In this method, community members are provided with digital camera and GIS Units. They take pictures of some aspect of their community where change is needed. Next, the photos become the object of interviews that are attached to particular images. The third step entails a mapping of the images with the GIS data. Finally, action items are developed by the participants and presented to policy makers (Dennis et al. p. 468). In sum, this is a method that can engage people in research about their lived experiences. Both qualitative and quantitative data emanates from this methodology.