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AFRO-NETS> Community Based Research
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Community Based Research
- From: Ernie Lang <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:57:21 -0500 (EST)
Community Based Research
In response to a question on AFRO-NETS, one participant posted the fol-
lowing short note on Community Based Research (CBR):
What is Community Based Research?
Community level action will usually involve one of three models of in-
(a) Social planning - the so-called top down approach -based on the
public health model which involves outside professionals as the
change agents who provides facts, develop programs and negotiate
(b) Social action - the bottom-up or grassroots approach - where local
groups mobilise around an issue and seek basic changes at local
(c) Locality development - which involves local community groups devel-
oping various strategies in conjunction with outside 'experts' who
act as a skills teachers and assist with obtaining funding, setting
up programs and advising on various methods.
Ideally, community based research programs should target the general
community as opposed to special populations (i.e., clinic attendees,
school-based populations). Community programs then, should involve
people in a designated area (geographic region, town, county, suburb,
street, village) dealing with problems specific to their community -
usually the immediate consequences of such problems rather than long
Community level actions have particular aims and forms. Major initia-
tives (taxes, legislation, regulations) are taken elsewhere and so com-
munities are constrained although action can be directed to bring about
change at other levels.
Because it is difficult to get diverse range racial, economic, institu-
tional people to agree to work together, must have shared leadership
between local groups including government, police, church, health serv-
ice providers etc. The groups, organisations and institutions which
provide valuable services to the community, are best placed to foster a
sense of solidarity through involvement in community based research
programs. Thus community programs involve local people assessing their
own needs, setting their own priorities and influencing local policy
initiatives. Communities, therefore, are much more likely to feel a
sense of ownership of programs they helped develop and implement and so
are more likely to actively support any prevention initiatives.
The goal of community programs, in line with public health theory,
ought to be: To reduce the incidence of harm; to promote a supportive
environment by reducing factors that contribute to and maintain
"harms"; and, to promote change to the physical environment to reduce
risk of harm through injury.
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