Community-Engaged Research

The term “community” denotes a group of people who have a common set of interests, a common set of characteristics, or who live in an identified neighborhood or location. A community may be involved in research at many levels from participation to consultation to design to review of research.

Community-engaged research is a framework or approach for conducting research, not a methodology in and of itself. It is characterized by the principles that guide the research and the relationships between the community and the academic researcher. Community-engaged research requires trust, partnership development, cooperation and negotiation, and commitment to addressing local issues of concern, most often health.

Community Research at USC

At USC, community based research is done at both the campuses though kinds of studies do differ. At the Health Sciences Campus, there will be studies that do biomedical interactions, interventions, and observational studies of health or behavioral factors. At University Park Campus there will be studies that work with local schools, mental health and social service providers as well as behavioral interventions (HIV, diabetes, obesity).

Community Research Studies at USC

Highlights of USC Investigators Engaged in Community Researchers

Resources for Community Research

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a collaborative research approach that is designed to ensure and establish participation by affected communities, representatives of local organizations, and researchers in all aspects of the research process.

CBPR emphasizes:

  1. co-learning about issues of concern
  2. reciprocal transfer of expertise
  3. sharing of decision-making power
  4. mutual ownership of the products and processes of research

The end result is incorporating the knowledge gained to improve the health and well-being of the community.

This approach is useful to academic and public health professionals addressing health care disparities in a variety of populations (identified by factors such as social or economic status, lack of health insurance, or membership in various racial and ethnic groups).

The NIH supports the push towards CBPR through training workshops and increased funding opportunities. Click here for an NIH presentation on CBPR.

CBPR Resources