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Community-Based Participatory Research


Community-based participatory research is considered instrumental in addressing health issues within a community. Its effectiveness stems from the fact that it involves community members who have first hand information about the problems affecting them. Community members can therefore assist researchers to overcome challenges that might be insurmountable for outsiders and avert possible conflicts. Additionally, with community members as part of the research process, emergent ethical and legal issues are easier to deal with.

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Significance of CBPR in Public Health Practice

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) has many health benefits. It helps healthcare professionals to come together and carry out research as a team in an effort to find solutions to diseases and other health complications (Jo Hockley, 2013). This aspect enables the experts in the health sector to share ideas from diverse fields to facilitate the analysis of modern-day diseases and understand their root cause as well as ways of controlling or curing them (McGee, 2012). Secondly, CBPR helps in improving the quality of research. This improvement occurs because of the availability of a wide base of data, information, and records. The information makes the work of researchers easier because they can easily monitor the trends of disease incidence within a community or a region.

Thirdly, CBPR helps in offering guidance concerning the use of the available data to the community. Since information is already available in databases, the next most important step is to ensure that the community understands how to utilize it so that the causes of diseases are clearly understood. Additionally, they can get to know how to maintain hygiene in their environment and live healthy lives (Minkler, 2011). Finally, CBPR helps families in the society to trust each other by solving any problems that arise due to social and cultural differences. It also provides guidance and counseling sessions to families to encourage them to live harmoniously (Wilmsen, 2012).

It can also help to sensitize the youth about STDs. It can achieve this by ensuring that the database that contains information about community health issues also has information that helps the youth to understand sexuality. The database also needs to contain information about the advantages of living sexually healthy lives and should be freely and easily accessible. In addition, the youth need talk sessions in which they are offered personalized advice on how to tackle STDs.

One legal issue affecting CBPR is bureaucracy. Several legal procedures such as the signing memoranda of understanding need to be followed because CBPR calls for the establishment of partnerships between universities, health facilities, and research organizations. These partnerships make it possible to build reliable databases, which can give the community access to health related information and make the program a success (Barbara & Israel, 2012). The signing of MoUs usually involves several long and tiresome legal processes between the institutions involved. It therefore frustrates the formation of such programs, leading to a limited number of CBPR programs in the society.

Ethical Issues affecting the Implementation of CBPR

One ethical issue that affects CBPR programs is poor communication methodology. Researchers often use inappropriate methods to disseminate information about their studies to the concerned community. The lapse results in ineffective CBPR programs cause by misunderstandings between the community and the researchers (Hacker, 2013). To improve the effectiveness of CBPR programs, it is necessary to carry out thorough investigations about the concerned community and get to understand its cultural, social, political, and religious views about the ideas of CBPR personnel prior to rolling out the program. CBPR personnel should then use the most appropriate method of delivering services and information to the concerned communities (Bowd, 2013).


CBPR has many benefits to community members and therefore, it should be the responsibility of every individual in the community to develop a positive mindset towards CBPR programs. Only then can they get to enjoy the benefits promised by such programs. The programs might eventually lead to the prevention and control of diseases and reduce death rates within communities.

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Barbara, A., & Israel, E. E. (2012). Methods for community-based participatory Research for health (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Bowd, R. P. A. (2013). Participatory research methodologies: development and post-disaster/conflict reconstruction. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Hacker, K. (2013). Community-based participatory research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Jo Hockley, K. F. (2013). Participatory research in palliative care: Actions and reflections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McGee, R. (2012). Knowing poverty: Critical reflections on participatory research and policy. London: Routledge.

Minkler, N. W. (2011). Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Wilmsen, C. (2012). Partnerships for empowerment: Participatory research for community-based natural resource management. London: Routledge.

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