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Durham University

Centre for Social Justice and Community Action

Ethics in community-based participatory research

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action 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, for example:

  • Who owns this information?
  • Are we being fair?
  • Is this an equal partnership?

These web pages focus on CSJCA’s work on ethics, including 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.

Get involved!

Feedback - We would be very interested to receive feedback on any of the materials on these pages – particularly the ethics guide. If you have used the guide, or any of the other materials, do let us know how this helped you, and also suggest any ideas for improvements or additional materials. If you are interested in joining our follow-on study, please email:

Case examples - We are inviting people to write short case examples about ethical issues in participatory research linked to health and social well-being for a book and/or this website and the International Collaboration on Participatory Health website. All case examples received, if suitable, will be placed on one of the websites. A selection of cases will be chosen for the book. You will find guidance about writing ethics case examples below. Please contact Sarah Banks if you are interested:

Guidance about writing ethics case examples