Community-Engaged Research

Discover tools and resources to support your community-engaged research initiatives, whether you are new to community-engaged research, or interested in expanding the methodologies you employ. We would be glad to work with you to incorporate any of these resources into your community-engaged efforts.

Getting Started with Community-Engaged Research

  • Cruz, N. I. & Giles, Jr., D.E. (2000). Where's the Community in Service-Learning Research? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spec(1), 28-34.

    • This article presents a four dimensional model for doing research with community partners on the process and outcomes of community service-learning. The authors argue that the research should focus on the community-university partnership as the unit of analysis and that it should use a participatory action research approach.
  • Polanyi, Michael; Lynn Cockburn. (2003) Opportunities and pitfalls of community-based research: a case study. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 9(3). 16-25.
    • This article identifies challenges academics encounter when engaging in community-based research (CBR) at a university. The challenges discussed include navigating constraints and requirements of academic research funding, bridging goals between academics and community members, and functioning within the university’s institutional structures.
  • Stoecker, Randy. (2003) Community-Based research: from practice to theory and back again. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 9(2), 35-46.
    • This paper defines community-based research (CBR) and interrogates the use of service-learning and action-oriented research models. Additionally, iit explores the split between action research, participatory research, and service-learning; and contrasts these theories in how the social world works. Finally, it explores social change models, showing the implications of the two versions of CBR in realizing CBR’s goal of social change for social justice.
  • Stoecker, Randy; Susan H. Ambler; Nick Cutforth; Patrick Sonohue; Dan Dougherty; Sam Marullo; Kris S. Nelson; Nancy B. Stutts. (2003) Community-Based research networks: development and lessons learned in an emerging field. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 9(3), 44-56.
    • This paper compares seven multi-institutional CBR networks in Appalachia, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia, and Trenton, New Jersey. The authors conducted a comparative SWOT analysis, showing their common and unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The paper concludes with the lessons suggested by the network histories and SWOT analyses.
  • Strand, K., Marullo, S., Cutforth, N., Stoecker, R., & Donohue, P. (2003). Community-based research and higher education principles and practices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • The book is organized into discussions of the principles and practices of CBR, and has incorporated voices and experiences of people conducting CBR on campuses and in their communities. This dynamic research model combines classroom learning with social action in ways that can ultimately empower community groups to address their own agendas and shape their own futures. 
  • Willis, Jason; Jennifer Peresie; Vanessa Waldref; Deirdra Stockmann. (2003) The student’s role in community based research. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 9(3), 36-43.
    • This article summarizes four community-based research projects from undergraduate students with extensive CBR research experience. The authors offer their views on the conditions necessary for the success and benefits of CBR for students.

Action Research

  • Harkavy, Ira; John Puckett; Dan Romer. (2000). Action research: bridging service and research. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 1(1), 113-118.

    • Action research is an approach to knowledge generation that can strengthen communities and institutions and that is ideally suited to the advancement of academically-based service-learning. The authors explain the history and goals of this approach to service-learning, define some current challenges, provide examples from three action research projects that respond to those challenges, and identify a sample of questions for research about this method of service-learning.
  • Ochocka, Joanna, Elin Moorlag, and Rich Janzen. “A Framework for Entry: PAR Values and Engagement Strategies in Community Research.” Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement 3, no. 1 (November 25, 2010): 1–19.
    • When working with communities, how we engage and enter into the community makes an impact. This article explores the entry process and looks at a specific framework which utilizes participatory action research and engagement strategies. The authors go on to explain why engagement throughout the relationship with the community is just as important as the initial entry. 
  • Schensul, Jean J; Marlene Berg. (2004). Youth participatory action research: a transformative approach to service-learning. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 10(3), 76-88.
    • This article describes Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) - a model of participatory action research and service-learning that integrates critical theory, research paradigms that incorporate positionality, interactive ethnographic methods, and dialogic approaches to service-learning.The article provides context for examining questions related to instructional methods, reciprocal learning, information as service, and the nature and practice of service-learning as reproducing or transforming traditional structures of power and positionality. 
  • Vaughn, L. & Jacquez, F. (2020). Participatory Research Methods--Choice Points in the Research Process. Journal of Participatory Research Methods, 1(1).
    • This article serves as an introduction to participatory research methods, including an overview of participatory research, terminology across disciplines, elements that make a research method participatory. The authors detail a model with the choice points for decision about which tools and methods produce a desired level of participation during each stage of the research process.

Community-Based Participatory Research

  • Giles, Hollyce (Sherry) C. (2014) Risky epistemology: connecting with others and dissonance in community-based research. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 20(2), 65-78.

    • This article reports the findings of a mixed method ethnographic study exploring the impact of connecting with others and experiencing dissonance in four undergraduate research methods courses with conflict oriented community-based research projects. The implications of the findings include purposefully crafting the role of the professor and the pedagogy of conflict-oriented CBR courses in ways that likely minimize student experiences of alienating dissonance and enhance learning for students with diverse political perspectives.
  • Kane, Emily W. (2012) Student perceptions of community-based research partners and the politics of knowledge. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 19(1), 5-16.
    • The author explores the journal entries of undergraduate students in a community-based research seminar to understand the students’ perceptions of community partners in context about debates on the politics of knowledge. Evidence is presented indicating that appropriately structured courses, especially those supported by robust institutional infrastructure for community-engaged learning, can (and should) encourage students to recognize community partners as valuable sources of knowledge.
  • Puma, Jini; Laurie Bennett; Nick Cutforth; Chris Tombari; Paul Stein. (2009) A case study of a community-based participatory evaluation research (CBPER) project: reflections on promising practices and shortcomings. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 15(2), 34-47.
    • This paper is a case study that documents a community-based participatory evaluation research (CBPER) project. The authors support the use of participatory evaluation models as viable ways to conduct CBR to measure the efficiency of community services. Promising aspects and shortcomings of this project advance the theoretical and methodological understandings and promotes better CBR practices.
  • Stocking, Vicki B.; Nick Cutforth. (2006) Managing the challenges of teaching community-based research courses: insights from two instructors. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning. 13(1), 56-65.
    • This article addresses the challenges that arise from structuring and teaching CBR courses. These challenges are addressed by an instructor of a new CBR course for undergraduate students and an instructor of an established course for graduate students. This discussion is intended to help prospective or current CBR instructors anticipate and manage the challenges of their courses
  • Online Support for Developing and Sustaining CBPR Partnerships
    • Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH)'s  evidence-based online curriculum, has proven to be an enduring and popular resource since its launch in 2005.

Power and Positionality

  • Andress, L., Hall, T., Davis, S., Levine, J., Cripps, K., & Guinn, D. (2020). Addressing power dynamics in community-engaged research partnerships. Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes, 24(4).

    • Successful community-engaged research depends on the quality of the collaborative partnerships between community -members and academic researchers and may take several forms depending on the purpose which dictates the degree to which power dynamics are handled within the collaborative arrangement. This analysis yielded quotes on power dynamics and related issues. Tools to address the power dynamics exposed by the quotes were selected using the literature and lived experience of the researchers.
  • Chicago Beyond. (2019). Why Am I Always Being Researched?.
    • Chicago Beyond created this guidebook to help shift the power dynamic and the way community organizations, researchers, and funders uncover knowledge together. It is an equity-based approach to research that offers one way in which we can restore communities as authors and owners. It is based on the steps and missteps of Chicago Beyond's own experience funding community organizations and research, and the courageous and patient efforts of our partners, the youth they serve, and others with whom we have learned.
  • Cohen, S. (Host). (2018, April). Research, Rural Social Work, Dementia, Policy Advocacy - Nicole Ruggiano, PhD, MSW (No. 3) [Audio podcast episode]. In Doin' The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change.
    • This podcast focuses on Nicole's research on dementia and how it led to working with the community of Tuskegee, where there is a history of unethical and racist practices by researchers. Nicole shares about the challenges facing rural communities and the importance of researchers, academics, and practitioners in supporting self-determination among individuals, families, and communities. Nicole urges listeners to get involved with policy advocacy and provides examples of how to do so.
  • Karnieli-Miller, O. & Strier, R. (2009). Power Relations in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Health Research, 19(2), 279-289.
    • This article focuses on the tensions between the commitment to power redistribution of the qualitative paradigm and the ethical and methodological complexity inherent in clinical research. Although there are significant variations in the different paradigms and traditions in qualitative inquiry, it proposes to reduce power differences and encourages disclosure and authenticity between researchers and participants.


Additional UM Resources

CBPR Partnership Academy
The Detroit Urban Research Center (URC)offers this year-long all-expenses-paid training program to help you learn how to take a more collaborative, solutions-focused approach in your research or community efforts to reduce health inequities. The URC usually accepts applications for the new cohort of two-person teams in winter of each year.

Consulting for Statistics, Computing, & Analytics Research (CSCAR)
University of Michigan's CSCAR provides consulting services and training opportunities in statistics, data science, and advanced research computation to researchers across campus who are interested in making more effective use of data analytic techniques, regardless of skill level or academic background.

National Center for Institutional Diversity's (NCID) Guidelines on Public Scholarship
The NCID's public scholarship agenda focuses on supporting diversity scholars and the production, dissemination, and application of public scholarship work.