Skip to content
aaspire logo


What Is CBPR?

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is an interdisciplinary research methodology in which scientific professionals and members of a specific community work together as equal partners in the development, implementation, and dissemination of research that is relevant to the community.


Researchers and Community Members serve as equal partners throughout the research process. Partners are expected to learn from each other and respect each other’s areas of expertise.

Principles of CBPR

The following Principles of Community Based Participatory Research are derived from [1].

  • CBPR acknowledges community as a unit of identity. The community is not just a population that shares some characteristic–it is a mutual network of individuals with common symbols, history, and a sense of emotional safety and identification.
  • CBPR builds on strengths and resources in the community. Researchers acknowledge and make use of community resources, including supporting community development if needed.
  • CBPR facilitates a collaborative, equitable partnership in all phases of research. All partners–researchers and community members–are informed, included, and involved in all aspects of the research process.
  • CBPR facilitates co-learning and capacity building among all partners. Researchers and community members learn from each other throughout the research process.
  • CBPR integrates and achieves a balance between knowledge generation and intervention for the mutual benefit of all partners. Research findings and plans for affecting change based on those findings are both valued and considered intrinsically connected. Everyone benefits from the work.
  • CBPR involves systems development using a cyclical and iterative process. The development of a CBPR partnership requires constant evaluation and improvement to both the science and to how the partnership functions.
  • CBPR focuses on community relevance and on ecological perspectives that attend to the multiple determinants of health and wellbeing. Relevance is defined by the community. Ecological perspectives see whole systems and whole people rather than isolated events, single causes, or individuals without context. Health is broadly defined to include the physical, emotional, economic, and social health of individuals and communities.
  • CBPR disseminates results to all partners and involves them in the wider dissemination of results. Research findings are communicated in channels beneficial to all partners; for example, findings may be published in a scholarly journal, released to the lay press, and used as policy points by community advocates.
  • CBPR involves a long-term process and commitment to sustainability. CBPR is slow and hard work; however, after the initial effort, a healthy, committed partnership can continue indefinitely as a “learning organization” making pay-off over time well worth the initial investment.

Benefits of CBPR

Some of the key benefits to CBPR are as follows. This list is by no means complete or comprehensive.

Community Based Participatory Research:

  • Helps the Community to get its needs met through research that is actually relevant to the Community’s needs;
  • Helps the research and academic community to do more valid, quality research with respect to the Community;
  • Helps to bridge gaps in understanding, trust, and knowledge between academic institutions and the Community;
  • Gets higher quality and more useful results by taking into account the full context of individuals, rather than seeing people in isolation from their environment, culture, or identity;
  • Provides the ability for empowerment of and equal control by people who historically have had little say in the research performed upon them or about them;

CBPR Resources


1. Isreal, Barbara A. “Community-Based Participatory Research: Principles, Rationale and Policy Recommendations.” Successful Models of Community-Based Participatory Research, pp. 16-22, March 2000, Washington, DC.

2. Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, D., McDonald, K, Dern, S., Ashkenazy, E., Boisclair, W.C., Robertson, S, Baggs, A. “Collaboration strategies in non-traditional CBPR partnerships: Lessons from an academic-community partnership with autistic self-advocates.” Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 2011:5(2);143-150.

Primary Sidebar