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.



Negotiating information sharing in community-based research – This blog post from PAN discusses information sharing agreements in the context of PAN’s Making it Work project and includes examples of authorship guidelines and research produc proposals.

Strong Connections: Community and Researchers Working Together – This blog post from PAN shares resources around research partnerships from groups and organizations in community, as well as links to other PAN resources on research partnerships that may be of interest.

G.R.O.W. + L.I.F.T., a checklist for community-research engagement – Leaders at 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.

Supporting Recruitment for Research Studies and Other Projects and Programs – this downloadable document offers key questions that PAN poses surrounding research partnerships that may be useful to other organizations in considering partnerships.

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 (archived page from CATIE) 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 CAAN (formerly known as the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network) – 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.


Guide to Collaboration in Research:

Making Research Work in Your Community: A Guidebook to Successful Research Partnerships (archived page from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven) – 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.


Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA):

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 (archived page from UNAIDS) for an overview of the principle.

Peer Research in Action – In 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.


Learning Tools:

Community-Based Research Toolkit –  This toolkit from Carleton University’s Centre for Studies on Poverty and Social Citizenship offers resources for community organizations considering working with academics in research. The partnerships section of the toolkit offers several resources to help organizations think through the goals, aims and focus of a potential partnership.