Balancing scientific and community interests in community-based participatory research

David B. Resnik, Caitlin E. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Community-based participatory research is an approach to studying human populations that emphasizes extensive partnerships between researchers and community members. While there are many advantages of this approach, it also faces a number of conceptual and practical challenges, one of which is managing the conflict that sometimes arises between promoting scientific and community interests. This essay explores the potential conflict between scientific and community interests in several different stages of community-based participatory research, including research design, data interpretation, and publication, and makes some suggestions for practice and policy. To manage potential conflicts between scientific and community interests, investigators and community partners should enter into written agreements at the beginning of the study. In some cases, it may be necessary for a third party, such as a review committee from a supporting institution, the community, or a funding agency, to help investigators and community partners resolve disagreements. It may also be useful, in some situations, to publish a dissenting opinion when investigators and community partners cannot agree on how to interpret findings resulting from a study. These strategies may help address some of the challenges of implementing community-based participatory research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-210
Number of pages13
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Community based participatory research
  • Data interpretation
  • Data sharing
  • Ethics
  • Objectivity
  • Openness
  • Publication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Balancing scientific and community interests in community-based participatory research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this