Learning more about Community Based Participatory Research was one of my favorite group meetings because I got to see from a different angle what I had been apart of the entire summer. Community Based Participatory Research is a form of research that allows all parties involved to be considered experts on the knowledge they bring to the project and considered as valuable partners. CBPR also ensures that meaningful relationships and/or partnerships are maintained beyond the completion of the research project. Guest speakers Barbara Israel and Carol Gray of the Detroit Urban Research Center (URC) did a great job illustrating what it means to use a partner approach to research. During one activity the other DCERP fellows and I were tasked with deciding whether or not our community sites would choose to participate in a certain research study based on varying situations. From that activity I learned that there are a variety of factors that go into deciding whether or not a research opportunity to be a good fit for the community that you are working with. Some factors include maintaining trust between an organization and the community they serve, a research team’s previous work with community organizations, and the level of involvement that communities and their organizations would have in regards to project execution or approach just to name a few.
As an intern at Friends of Parkside (FOP) CBPR was familiar to me because within the last nine weeks, FOP has been in partnership with several different research groups who wanted The Villages of Parkside community to be apart of their studies. I have sat in meetings where I was able to provide feedback on the way questions were posed in certain surveys and the best ways to approach recruiting community members to participate in the research projects. Seeing as though there have been historical instances of organizations or groups using and exploiting communities only for the purpose of research without providing any sustainable benefits that improve the overall well-being of a community I understand why people have little to no interest in being involved in research. I think using the CBPR approach is a great way to reestablish the trust and faith that communities have in research. Having learned what I did from FOP and the guest speakers from the Detroit URC, I will know what to look for when seeking out future positions in research involved with direct community interactions.