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Ethics in Community-Based Participatory Research

Contact: Prof. Sarah Banks

The Centre has a particular interest in the ethical issues that arise in research that is community-based and participatory. Ethics relates to doing good and harm; how people are treated; and who benefits from research. In CBPR there may be particular questions about how to share power and resources, and create mutual respect.

CSJCA’s work on ethics includes a guide to ethical principles and practice, case examples, films, articles and a range of other downloadable resources for use by researchers and students based in communities and universities, and anyone interested in planning or evaluating CBPR.

A revised version of the very popular ethical guidelines for community-based participatory research published in December 2022, along with an Appendix of toolkits and cases can be downloaded here: 

Books and articles


Ethical guidelines and ethics case studies

Members of the Centre were involved in developing a set of ethical principles and guidelines for community-based participatory research in 2012. This was the result of two community-university partnership research projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Connected Communities programme. The guide was also published in an easyread version suitable for use by people with learning disabilities and children in both English and Welsh. Case studies for use in training and education were also produced.

In 2022, a 2nd edition of the ethical guidelines was produced, along with an Appendix of toolkits and case studies. 

Performing ethics and dilemmas cafes

Drawing on the work of Augusto Boal, Brazilian theatre director, who developed participatory theatre for social change (Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre), members of the Centre have explored ethical issues in research through acting out real-life scenarios. They have also developed a method for exploring real-life ethical dilemmas in through in small groups, known as ‘dilemmas cafes’.  

A 24 page booklet that outlines the nature of Forum Theatre and exercises and games for use in a workshop on ethics in community-based participatory research.

An 8-minute film produced by the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK and LGBT Youth NW, Manchester, about communities and universities working together to develop ethical research to accompany the booklet, Performing ethics.