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Ethical Issues in Conducting Community-Based Participatory Research: A Narrative Review of the Literature
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a methodology increasingly used within the social sciences. CBPR is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of research methodologies, including participatory research, participatory action research, feminist participatory research, action research, and collaborative inquiry. At its core, they share five key attributes: (i) community as a unit of identity; (ii) an approach for the vulnerable and marginalized; (iii) collaboration and equal partnership throughout the entire research process; (iv) an emergent, flexible, and iterative process; and (v) the research process is geared toward social action. While there is no shortage of literature that highlights the benefits and potential of CBPR, relatively little discussion exists on the ethical issues associated with the methodology. In particular, current gaps within the literature include ethical guidance in (i) balancing community values, needs, and identity with those of the individual; (ii) negotiating power dynamics and relationships; (iii) working with stigmatized populations; (iv) negotiating conflicting ethical requirements and expectations from Institutional Review Boards (IRBs); and (v) facilitating social action emerging from the findings. For CBPR’s commendable goals and potential to be realized, it is necessary to have a more fulsome discussion of the ethical issues encountered while implementing a CBPR study. Further, a lack of awareness and critical reflection on such ethical considerations may perpetuate the very same problems this methodology seeks to address, namely, inequality, oppression, and marginalization. The purpose of this article is to provide a narrative review of the literature that identifies ethical issues that may arise from conducting CBPR studies, and the recommendations by researchers to mitigate such challenges.
CBPR, Qualitative Research, Ethical Issues
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Recommended APA Citation
Kwan, C., & Walsh, C. A. (2018). Ethical Issues in Conducting Community-Based Participatory Research: A Narrative Review of the Literature. The Qualitative Report, 23(2), 369-386. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.3331