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Community-Based Participatory Research and Policy Advocacy Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 25th, 2020

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is still a matter of debate among scholars, practitioners, and the public. Some see them as the major drivers of change while others are still unaware of ways to use this approach. Policy advocacy is often left without attention when practitioners or scholars develop and implement some forms of CBPR (Jilcott, Ammerman, Sommers, & Glasgow, 2007). Nevertheless, this component is central to the approach that aims at exploring issues, facilitating collaboration, and bringing changes. This paper addresses the link between CBPR and policy advocacy.

The use of policy advocacy is often deemed as the process taking place at the country-wide or state-wide levels. Nevertheless, numerous researchers and practitioners, as well as community members, have proved that the use of CBPR is instrumental in the development of new policies and frameworks. For instance, Jilcott et al. (2007) note that policy-making can be a result of the collaboration between researchers and the community. Clements-Nolle and Bachrach (2008) provide an example when the use of CBPR resulted in the improvement of the provision of health care to transgender patients. Community members initiated the launch of the study that helped unveil the existing gaps. The researchers and representatives of the transgender community used the obtained data to make policy-makers change certain policies and develop programs to address the needs of this population.

However, the effectiveness of CBPR projects can be undermined by tensions existing between researchers and the community. Stoecker (2008) states that one of the differences between the goals and aims of the stakeholders is associated with financial aspects. Researchers receive particular rewards for the implementation of their projects while community members often have to invest their time and even resources without any direct benefits. Clearly, community members are less motivated to participate in projects. Another difference is related to the stakeholders’ attitudes towards the problem. The community often feels frustrated or even accustomed to certain circumstances while researchers may acknowledge the need and various opportunities for change. The use of CBPR is beneficial for addressing these tensions as this approach can encourage the community to act. Researchers provide information concerning certain issues, as well as possible solutions. CBPR projects can also be financially beneficial for researchers and community members as studies’ funds can be used to develop the community. For example, the infrastructure can be improved.

As for the strategies used to address the tension between researchers and community members, communication and collaboration have proved to be the most effective. For example, Clements-Nolle and Bachrach (2008) reveal the benefits of effective communication between different groups. Transgender activists initiated the launch of the project involving research and collaboration among community members and researchers. Discussions made people more willing to acknowledge the urgency of the issue and participate in the development of solutions. Cheatham-Rojas and Shen (2008) describe the project that involved the collaboration between researchers, the target population, and the community. People were encouraged to help Cambodian girls to address some of the issues they face. The effectiveness of the strategies mentioned above is grounded in knowledge sharing as people are encouraged to act if they see problems and solutions.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the use of CBPR s beneficial for the process of policy-making and the development of communities. Irrespective of certain tensions existing between different groups, this approach has proved to be effective. The development of effective communication channels and collaboration strategies are key to the success of CBPR projects.

References

Cheatham-Rojas, A., & Shen, E. (2008). CBPR with Cambodian girls in Long Beach, California: A case study. In M. Minkler & N. Wallerstein (Eds.), Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (pp. 121-136). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Clements-Nolle, K., & Bachrach, A. M. (2008). CBPR with a hidden population: The transgender community health project a decade later. In M. Minkler & N. Wallerstein (Eds.), Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (pp. 137-152). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jilcott, S., Ammerman, A., Sommers, J., & Glasgow, R. E. (2007). Applying the RE-AIM framework to assess the public health impact of policy change. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 34(2), 105-114.

Stoecker, R. (2008). Are academics irrelevant? Approaches and roles for scholars in CBPR. In M. Minkler & N. Wallerstein (Eds.), Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (pp. 107-120). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Community-Based Participatory Research and Policy Advocacy." December 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/community-based-participatory-research-and-policy-advocacy/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Community-Based Participatory Research and Policy Advocacy'. 25 December.

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