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Guidelines for Community Partnership Research

Guidelines for Community Partnership Research: Executive Summary

This document provides guidelines to facilitate collaborative community research involving university or other institutionally-based researchers and Community Research Alliance members, heretofore referred to as “research partners”. It is designed to support equitable and ethical research involving the community and institutional partnerships that meet the needs of both parties. This Executive Summary should be used in conjunction with the full Guidelines for Community Partnership Research which provides additional details, definitions, examples of successful and challenging collaborations, and a reference list.

 I. Involvement of partners in the research process

  • Research partnerships should be collaborative. The ideal scenario would involve negotiation of study topics, designs, and approaches; investigators and staff reflecting the ethnic, racial, and other characteristics of the study population, mutually agreed upon policies regarding joint ownership of data and dissemination of research results, including to the community in which the study takes place; and commitment to resolving issues of discrepancy (CICATS and ICR may assist).

 II.  Respect for and commitment to the community where research takes place

  • The research team and members of the identified community should demonstrate a mutual understanding and respect for the culture(s) of the research partners and study community. Thus members of the research team should demonstrate an interest in and commitment to working in and with the study community; members of the study community should agree to the study and its importance; members of the research team should ensure that information and knowledge about the community is incorporated and applied in all phases of the research process (planning, implementation, evaluation, analysis, and dissemination).

III. Relevance and benefit of the research   

  • All partners should agree on the relevance and benefits of the research and identify ways to link the research to community needs and interests in an authentic way

IV. Effective communication among partners

  • Communication should be bi-directional; research partners should work to ensure the creation and implementation of policies and infrastructure that enable all partners to have an equitable voice in the research process.

V. The ethical conduct of research

  • All research is conducted in compliance with the Office of Human Research Protections and an Institutional Review Board (IRB) will be established that includes local community advocates and university faculty familiar with community-based research.

VI. Recruitment in community settings

  • Research partners should be engaged as noted earlier in these guidelines and should engage community members in the environment where the research is to take place. Recruitment communications should include information about the project, its utility to the community, and plans regarding follow-up communications.

VII. Capacity-building, resource sharing, and sustainability

  • The research partnership should promote co-learning and capacity-building among all partners, including, but not limited to, funding, grant writing, improving organizational credibility; and increasing knowledge about research.
  • Research partners should negotiate agreements on resource sharing across the partnership initially and re-negotiate on an as-needed basis over time.