Our Community-Based Research Principles

PAN is supported by the CIHR CBR Collaborative Centre (a Program of REACH) and helped develop the following principles in partnership with other staff and stakeholders. The original post is here.

Based on our experience with our current CIHR CBR Collaborative, CIHR REACH 1.0 and 2.0, an extensive array of CBR projects, and through many of our provincial and national partners, we are committed to and demonstrate the following critical components when practicing CBR:

1) Meaningful Engagement and GIPA/MIPA. The CBR agenda must: be driven by the community, democratize knowledge (all partners having an equal voice), and build on strengths and resources within the community. Community and people with lived experience are actively and meaningfully engaged at all stages of the research process, which actively aligns and is integrated with the HIV sector’s Greater/Meaningful Engagement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA/MIPA) principles and has been thoroughly ingrained in the practices of CBR Collaborative 1.0.

2) Relevance, Responsiveness and Rigour. Through the active engagement of communities alongside academic partners we ensure the rigorous and excellent research we conduct is appropriately contextualized, relevant and responsive to community-identified needs.

3) Trust and Transparency. Building on trust and creating equity between partners, all decisions made within community-based research projects are transparent allowing all partners the option to contribute, participate, and witness each step of a project.

4) Partnerships, Mentorship and Equity. The best CBR is done when community members work closely with researchers who have strong training in methodologies, and when academics work closely with community members who understand the needs/concerns of populations most affected by HIV as well as the challenges of delivering programs and services. Through this process, communities learn more about research while researchers learn more about community. Experts in each context mentor one another. Within this structure, it is essential that power imbalances are actively recognized and addressed between a diverse set of partners.

5) Humanistic Values-Based. CBR is most effective when it is focused on a number of key values including: empowerment, social change, respect for diversity, cultural safety and appropriateness, client-centred, building a culture of learning, and equity.

6) Integrated Knowledge Translation and Exchange (KTE). CBR is, in itself, an effective form of KTE because knowledge users (people working at the front lines, decision-makers, people living with HIV) are actively involved in the research process from the beginning. It is important to ensure that results are presented in ways that are accessible and understandable to the specific audience, including policy-makers, community partners, and people with lived experience.

7) Education and Learning. CBR traditionally contains a strong praxis component, that is to say, of raising awareness and capacity, building knowledge and applying it to real world problems. Electronic learning (e-learning) has been documented to be successful to break regional barriers with communities of practice, events, courses, workshops and digital materials that are affordable, accessible everywhere, any time and using diverse media.

8) Focus on Outcomes, Self-Reflexivity, Evaluating the Practice of CBR. In order to ensure that we are working in the most effective way, it is important to step outside of the content of the research to evaluate how successful each project has been in supporting the CBR principles and approaches.

9) Action-Oriented with Long-Lasting Impacts. While there is an important focus on research outcomes, CBR also has the potential to build a legacy of long-term, sustainable relationships between partners. We are committed to developing innovative multi-method tools to evaluate short-and long-term impacts of CBR research on individuals, organizations, and communities.