Community Research can best be envisioned on a continuum which runs from the traditional research approach to completely community driven, as noted below.

Traditional Research Approach: 

Research that is completely researcher (academic) driven, the problem is identified by the researcher, who plans and conducts the research and then analyzes, interprets, and disseminates the results to the academic community.

Community-Placed Research: 

Research is happening IN the community setting but is still researcher (academic) driven, community members are not active participants.

Community-Based Research:

Research WITH the community where the community members are participating to some degree in the research process.

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): 

CBPR is a collaborative approach to research involving all partners, such as community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all project components 1.  CBPR is research WITH community members as equal partners (community provides the research questions, assists with data collection/review, final outcomes distributed to community in format they understand, and partners share funding received for the research).

CBR Continuum
Traditional Research Commuity-placed Research Community-based Research (CBR) Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Researchers doing Traditional Research and Community-Placed Research will proceed with a HawkIRB application which will be reviewed by the Human Subjects Office staff and UI IRB following standard procedures.


  1. Israel BA, Schulz AJ, Parker, EA, Becker, AB. Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annu Rev Public Health,1998; 19:173-202.
  2. Novel Organizational Approach: Development of the Harvard Catalyst CEnR Subcommittee-Working to Address Issues Across the Continuum. Jacob, CA. Accessed 11.4.2011.
  3. Practicing Community-engaged Research. McDonald, MA (2009). Accessed 11.4.2011.