Office of Civic Engagement

Community-Based Research

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves, for example, community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process and in which all partners contribute expertise and share decision making and ownership.

Working to understand local issues and how they affect the community through deliberate research is a great start to developing useful, local knowledge. Students need to be able to look at big ideas using their academic knowledge, while keeping perspective rooted in their experience. Researching and providing an initiative that clarifies the city and county obligation to mitigating a specific issue (like homelessness or zoning priorities), or simply assisting current organizational efforts. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Organizational needs assessments, ecological impact evaluations, economic analyses of proposed policies, or an evaluation of big issues like Net Neutrality or Fracking are all extremely powerful ways to apply knowledge to issues in the surrounding community—local, state and national.
  • Applying university knowledge resources to create a detailed analysis of a subject can be of immense help when educating the public, or supporting an organization—especially nonprofits, local government, and advocacy groups.
  • Environmental and social research in the community can greatly support organizations with limited means, and lead to educated action for community improvement.
  • Efforts also include political research. Why do CSU, Chico students vote—r not vote? What is the best way to give people information about government issues? What are the implications of a current or proposed policy? Answering these questions can start a collaborative and productive dialogue between campus and community.

Learn more about the difference between Community-Based Research and standard academic research (PDF). (If you need special accommodation to access this document, please contact the Office of Accessible Technology and Services.)

Further Reading