Introduction to Community Based Participatory Research - MPH 609

Credits: 3 credits

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR). This course is NOT a methodology course; CBPR is an approach to conducting research that can be used with many research designs and methodologies. It is intended to provide students a grounding in the goals and application of CBPR; the theoretical background that informs CBPR; an introduction to theories of race, ethnicity, power, difference, gender and sexuality; the formation and maintenance of community partnerships; the use of CBPR to promote health equity and social justice; and the introduction of CBPR techniques to institutional review boards and funders.


This is a required course for the Master of Public Health Program. At the end of the course, the learner will be able to design a plan for creating, implementing and evaluation a community-based participatory research project. After learning about the ethical and power issues involved in CBPR projects, the learner will be able to discuss strategies to understand and address these challenges with community members, and how to address these potential issues with their institution’s review board. The learner will also be able to discuss how to maintain relationships with community members, and how to translate findings from CBPR projects into recommendations for policy change and/or health promotion programs. These skills will be acquired through thorough reading and discussion of the historical roots of CBPR, examples of CBPR, and critical reflective commentary about difference and power. Also, these skills will be acquired by conducting two community interviews and by the drafting of a CBPR project plan. To complement the reading and discussion, the students will view brief videos from experts conducting CBPR projects and videos highlighting the products of CBPR work.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Define CBPR as a strategy to address social justice, policy and systems change, as well as an approach (rather than a specific methodology) to research relationships, including their inherent power dynamics and ethical issues.
  2. Explain the positions of proponents and critics of CBPR.
  3. Discuss the conceptual and philosophical roots of community-based participatory public health research, as well as the values enhanced by this approach to research and program development.
  4. Appraise the ethical challenges in conducting research with communities.
  5. Identify race, gender and class dimensions of CBPR.
  6. Describe the process and challenge of forming, maintaining and sustaining partnerships with communities for CBPR.
  7. Understand, evaluate and apply the methods used in community-based public health research.
  8. Discuss the process of designing and implementing a research project in the context of CBPR, including how to devise public health research programs in the collaboration with diverse communities and community representatives.
  9. Translate the findings of community-based public health research projects to a variety of audiences to facilitate the development of effective public health promotion strategies and policy.
  10. Explain the importance of governance structures within which power dynamics and ethical issues can be appropriately addressed.

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To learn more about Creighton University’s online Master of Public Health, call 866.717.6365 or simply request more information.