COMMUNITY BASED RESEARCH
A Community Based Research (CBR) approach represents a way of doing research whereby both researchers and community work together to set the research questions, identify the methodology, participate in data collection and tool development, interpret findings, and disseminate the research results. Who, other than the community itself, best knows its health needs?
CBR is not limited to any one method; rather it represents an overall approach through which various types of data may be collected and used. When done right, CBPR research produces policy relevant data that communities can use to meet their specific needs and desires, as the process of actually doing the research can strengthen various community capacities. However, a CBR approach to Aboriginal research must not be taken lightly; at the community and institutional levels, these research relationships must be built upon a foundation of trust, reciprocity, and perhaps most significantly, a shared philosophical understanding of both the research problem and the envisioned outcome.
The ultimate goal of a CBR approach is to create data that may be used in actionable ways to address issues that the community sees as important, thereby enabling self-determination in research. For many community organizations and Indigenous scholars, this approach is not a new one – many researchers who work with and for their own communities, have endorsed this approach to ensure that research has benefits for both researchers and the researched.
In Canada, the creation of the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health and the subsequent creation of the Guidelines for Research with Aboriginal Peoples, now endorsed through the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2, means that Canadian researchers have been charged with a new ethic of research with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities. Today, CBR approaches are becoming a vitally important means of doing research with Aboriginal communities.