Community-based participatory research (CBPR) emphasizes the importance of community participation in all aspects of research, including the definition of research questions, data collection and analysis, and application of findings. CBPR also emphasizes the importance of education and rectification of knowledge imbalances between community partners, researchers, and participants. The CBPR framework has been credited with facilitating better scientific understanding of the social context in which disease and treatment outcomes occur and, thereby, more effective and culturally tailored solutions to problems associated with them. To date, much of the CBPR research and literature focuses on its merits, the difficulties community partners and researchers encounter in their efforts to cooperate, and methods to improve that cooperation and better ensure project success and dissemination of findings. Concern for assurance of CBPR research integrity is long standing and connected to the variety of norms and conventions associated with the diverse fields, disciplines, cultures, and communities involved. Original research that systematically examines potential threats to the scientific conduct of CBPR is lacking and this exploratory study will evaluate potential threats to CBPR integrity across a broad sample of CBPR projects involving coalitions of community members and organizations, healthcare providers (nurses, physicians, and others), Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs), and traditional academic research institutions.
The specific aims of this project are: (1) to delineate knowledge and understanding among community members and organizations, healthcare providers, members of PBRNs, and academic researchers about purposes, methods, and desired consequences that may affect the scientific integrity of CBPR projects;(2) to delineate structural factors that affect the scientific rigor of CBPR projects, including availability of financial resources, data collection and analysis tools, or imbalances in research training of CBPR team members;and (3) to determine educational content that will increase and maintain CBPR research integrity. The results of this R21 exploratory study will facilitate development of standard CBPR training modules to be utilized by community members and organizations, health care providers, and academic researchers engaged in CBPR projects. This project will address concerns about the scientific merits of CBPR by systematically investigating the factors that influence research integrity in CBPR and developing methods to address threats to research integrity. In accomplishing its aims, this project will identify methods by which standards of responsible conduct may be incorporated into CBPR to ensure research integrity. These methods will facilitate increased reliability and validity of CBPR findings, and, thereby, more meaningful and effective community-engaged, translational science.

Public Health Relevance

This study will facilitate development of educational tools to increase the scientific integrity of CBPR. As CBPR becomes more rigorous, resultant interventions will become increasingly effective for the associated communities and, thereby, increase overall public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-TN-J (RI))
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Barnes, Martha
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Kraemer Diaz, Anne E; Spears Johnson, Chaya R; Arcury, Thomas A (2013) Variation in the interpretation of scientific integrity in community-based participatory health research. Soc Sci Med 97:134-42