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School of Applied Social Sciences

Ethics in Community-Based Participatory Research

A workshop for postgraduate researchers

Wednesday 5 March 2014, 10.30 to 15.30 | Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan's College, Durham University

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an increasingly popular approach to research, whereby groups of people facing real world problems (e.g. residents in a neighbourhood, people with disabilities, farmers, patients or teachers) are key players in the research process. For many people and organisations, research that is community-based and participatory is new and its practice raises ethical questions relating to power, control, responsibility, informed consent and professsrional boundaries, which do not take centre stage in traditional approaches to research. For many funders (research councils and major charities), and for university and other research ethics committees, CBPR does not fit neatly within the traditional ethical codes and research ethics procedures (which often assume a clear distinction between researcher and researched and a predictability of process).

This workshop will provide an introduction to CBPR, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and considering some of the ethical challenges it raises. We will introduce the recently-developed guide, Community-based participatory research: a guide to ethical principles and practice, and an accompanying set of case materials and exercises, Ethics in community-based participatory research: case studies, case examples and commentaries. These materials, along with some films and podcasts, were produced by a group of community partners and academics, coordinated by Durham University's Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, published by National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Connected Communities programme (see: and We will work with case studies and examples drawn from these materials. The workshop will use participatory methods to discuss and record experiences, reflections and recommendations.

  1. To provide a brief introduction to community-based participatory research and the various research fields in which it is being applied.
  2. To introduce the guide to ethical principles and work through related case materials and identify potential modifications and further developments.
  3. To raise awareness of the range of ethical issues that arise and how to take them into account in planning, conducting and disseminating research that involves community participants as researchers, co-researchers or partners.
  4. To share participants' own experiences of ethical challenges and responses.
  5. To develop the confidence and skills in recognising and handling ethical issues in CBPR.

Professor Sarah Banks | Co-Director | Centre for Social Justice and Community Action | Durham University

The workshop is designed primarily for postgraduate researchers who are currently doing, or interested in doing, research that is community-based and participatory. We also welcome members of community organisations with an interest in CBPR.

The workshop will cost £30 to attend. For students from Durham and Newcastle Universities there is no charge. The fee includes refreshments and a sandwich lunch.

There are approximately 30 places available for this workshop. If you are interested in attending please complete our online registration form by Monday 10th February 2014. Prospective participants will then be contacted by Wednesday 12th February as to their registration status.

Please contact Anne Park at (+44) 0191 33 41476 or via email if you require any further information about the workshop.

The Ethics in community-based participatory research workshop forms part of the North East Doctoral Training Centre's (NEDTC) programme for advanced training for doctoral students in the social sciences.