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Theoretical and Critical Literature

Below are articles and literature exploring ethical issues in CBR/CER:

This article explores a range of ethical issues that arise in community-based participatory research (CBPR), drawing on literature and examples from practice. The experience of CBPR practitioners adds further weight to the growing critique by many other social researchers of regulatory approaches to research ethics (which focus on rule following in accordance with research governance frameworks, codes of conduct and ethics review procedures).

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. (2010). Tri-Council policy statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans. Retrieved from Government of Canada:

This Policy expresses the Agencies' continuing commitment to the people of Canada to promote the ethical conduct of research involving humans.  It has been informed, in part, by leading international ethics norms, all of which may help, in some measure, to guide Canadian researchers in Canada and abroad, in the conduct of research involving humans.

 This article discusses tensions which can arise over how the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, and justice are interpreted and applied in research involving young people.

  • Couzos, S., Culbong, M., Lea, T., & Murray, R. (2005). 'We are not just participants - we are in charge': The NACCHO ear trial and the process for aboriginal community-controlled health research. Ethnicity & Health, 10(2), 91-111.

 The ‘community-controlled’ model of research relating to Aboriginal peoples health is a form of ‘participatory’ research that shifts the balance of control towards those being researched. This paper describes the methodological issues and principles that underpin community-controlled health research; their practical application; and encourages their adoption in research involving Indigenous populations.

This paper outlines the findings of a scoping study examining ethical issues in community-based participatory research (CBPR), based on a literature search and the deliberations of a co-inquiry action research group.

 The authors conducted a web-based survey of community and university CBR practitioners to learn more about the context and efficacy of CBR in Canada.

This report is Part III of a series of working papers that provides an overview of research findings from our study related to the practice of peer research as a strategy in community-based research (CBR) in Toronto, Canada. In this section, we illuminate the particular ways in which participants discussed ethical challenges in their work when adopting a peer researcher approach.

 National and international codes of research conduct have been established in most industrialized nations to ensure greater adherence to ethical research practices.  Despite these safeguards, however, traditional research approaches often continue to stigmatize marginalized and vulnerable communities.

This paper discusses some of the ethical tensions related to the PRA/researcher relationship, the relationship of the PRA to the research itself, and suggestions for how to move forward in addressing these tensions.

  • Greene, S., Ahluwalia, A., Watson, J., Tucker, R., Rourke, S., Koornstra, J., & et al. (2009). Between skepticism and empowerment: The experiences of peer research assistants in HIV/AIDS, housing and homelessness community-based research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 12(4), 361-373.

Drawing on data from two in‐depth focus groups with seven PRAs from the Positive Spaces, Healthy Places: Community‐based Research Study, this paper highlight important methodological practices for academic and community‐based researchers who are working with and supporting PRAs. 

Despite using a single guiding ethical framework, REBs across Canada employ a variety of techniques to review research studies. This article reports on these differences and varying levels of sensitivity to CBPR. Finally, it highlights best practices and make recommendations for integrating CBPR principles into existing ethics review.

Through sharing our experiences with a CBPAR project focused on mental health services and supports in several cultural-linguistic immigrant communities in Ontario, Canada, we provide insights into our attempts at establishing reciprocal relationships with community members collaborating in the research study and discuss how these relationships contributed to ethical practice. 

  • Powell, K., & Takayoshi, P. (2003). Accepting role created for us: The ethics of reciprocity. College Composition and Communication, 54(3), 394-422.

Grounded in theories of feminist research practices and in two empirical studies conducted separately, this paper argues that seeing reciprocity as a context-based process of definition and re-definition of the relationship between participants and researcher helps us understand how research projects can benefit participants in ways that they desire. 

BOOKS and Articles and Gray Literature :

Methods for Community-Based Participatory Research for Health

edited by Barbara A. Israel, Eugenia Eng, Amy J. Schulz, Edith A. Parker


Community-Based Participatory Research for Improved Mental Healthcare:

 By Laura Roberts


"Principles of Community Engagement” -

This book was developed by the Community Engagement Key Function Committee of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium

Measuring the Success of Community Science: The Northern California Household Exposure Study Brown, P. Brody, JG, Morello-Frosch, R. et al  - Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Mar; 120(3): 326–331.


Promoting Public Health Policy through Community- Based Participatory Research: Ten Case studies.  Meredith Minkler Victoria Breckwich Vásquez, Charlotte Chang Jenesse Miller UC Berkley School of Public Health Team