Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an asset-building model that was constructed by the medical community. Essentially, the model was based on the asset-based community development (ABCD) approach; however, CBPR has been adapted to research study. CBPR uses research methods to use both quantitative and qualitative information to obtain the community’s strengths. Authors Lightfoot, McCleary, & Lum (2014) claimed that, although CBPR strongly supports a strengths based approach, many social workers have not incorporated it into their practice. Similarly, the authors claimed that CBPR can be as successful at the mezzo and micro levels as it was at the macro level. With so much acclaim, some may ask why this model has not been used broadly within the social work field. Through understanding and assessing the many facets of CBPR, one will be better suited to accept or reject the CBPR model.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website posted an essay - Community-based Participatory Research: Necessary Next Steps - which defined CBPR as:
[A] collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities. (Faridi, Grunbaum, Gray, Simoes 2007 as cited in Arbor 2007)
Essentially, researchers combine forces with the community and persons of interest to identify resources and information that combat a community’s deficit. By mapping these resources, managers can effectively research solutions to existing issues. Additionally, it should be noted that this definition comes from the medical perspective and not from the strengths based perspective.
Lightfoot et al. (2014) stated that the CBPR model was based upon Kretzmann and McKnight’s 1993 “ABCD approach” (p. 59). The ABCD approach was created to find solutions for problems that plague a specific community. Furthermore, ABCDs approach enabled community workers to uncover both tangible and intangible assets in which the community can take advantage. Examples of tangible assets can be, “a church congregation, a playground, or a community organization,” while intangible assets can be “cultural traditions and social support networks” (Lightfoot et al., 2014, p. 59). This approach, in turn, enables the community to intercede as challenges present themselves. Although the ABCD approach is an excellent way to identify solutions and combat troubles, researchers needed a similar model to aid in their investigations (Lightfoot et al., 2014).
CBPR was constructed to link medical researchers to a community. Researchers wanted to find and assess existing strategies to community issues in which they were studying. This sort of research is often...