Research Partnerships


Partnerships and collaboration are at the heart of community-based research (CBR) and careful consideration should be given to identifying partners, setting up terms for the collaboration, and evaluating the process as it unfolds. Here are some resources to assist in developing and learning about collaboration in CBR.



G.R.O.W. + L.I.F.T., a checklist for community-research engagement: Leaders at the CBRC created this communication tool. It was written with academic trainees in mind, primarily (based on our own experiences), but it may be used by academic researchers at any stage who wish to reflect on their readiness to work with community-based organizations (CBOs). Some CBOs have also expressed interest in providing this check-list to researchers who request partnership for a new (or ongoing) research project. The attached ‘supplement’ includes a few more details, as well as some additional resources that may be useful.

PAN Research Agreement Checklist– downloadable guidelines for PAN agencies who may be partaking in community-based research for the first time and want to know some of the questions to ask in order to ensure proposed research projects are suitable to their organization’s needs and capacity levels, and that research partnerships are respectful and mutually beneficial.

Grant Roles and Responsibilities – Developed by the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS, this document provides a useful guide to the roles and responsibilities for research grant applicants. The table outlines typical responsibilities for Nominated Principal Applicants, Principal Applicants/Principal Knowledge Users, Co-Applicants/Knowledge Users, and Collaborators on CIHR grants. Research project teams can use this as a tool to decide what roles team members will play in the proposed project.

What to Ask When Researchers Come Knocking, by Carole Strike and Adrian Guta – Printed in CATIE’s Prevention in Focus online publication, this article is a great guide for community organizations on what questions are important to ask when researchers would like to partner with you

Principles of Collaboration from the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN)- This document is a template for a type of memorandum of understanding called that is used to establish a set of principles that will guide the research process. In short, this document outlines the importance of incorporating cultural values and perspectives into the project.

Terms of Reference for the CAAN Youth Council – This document is an example of what a terms of reference can look like for an advisory committee, council, or research team. Having a terms of reference can help to guide the work of a group and ensure a common understanding of goals, membership, and objectives.




Making Research Work in your Community: A Guidebook to Successful Research Partnerships – Co-authored by Community Network for Research Equity & Impact member Natasha Ray, New Haven Healthy Start Consortium Development Coordinator, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Dr. Karen Wang. The guidebook is the result of a study that looked at best practices in community-university partnerships.



The GIPA principle, or MIPA (Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS) is an important principle in HIV community-based research. This principle recognizes the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV (PLHIV), including their right to self determination. Read the UNAIDS GIPA policy brief for an overview of the principle.

Peer Research in Action:  These working papers from the Wellesley Institute, Brenda Roche along with Sarah Flicker and Adrian Guta present Peer Research in Action in three parts: Models of Practice; Management, Support and Supervision; and, Ethical Issues.



Developing a CBPR Partnership  by Sarah Flicker, Kirsten Senturia and Kristine Wong. This online learning unit covers the basic tools for beginning a community-based participatory research partnership. For established partnerships, this unit can be helpful for engaging new partners and for reflecting on and improving upon decisions that have already been made.