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Health Educ Behav. 2001 Apr;28(2):130-49.

Researcher and researched--community perspectives: toward bridging the gap.

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Seattle-King County Department of Public Health, Seattle Partners for Healthy Communities, Washington 98103, USA.


In the process of initiating a new community-based research project, the authors wanted to understand the experiences of community members and researchers in community-based research projects and to develop guidelines to improve future projects. They conducted qualitative, key informant interviews with 41 people involved at all levels of community-based research projects in Seattle. Respondents were identified using a snowball sampling technique. More problems than successes were discussed by informants, including dissatisfaction with the focus of research, which some said is marked by a lack of cultural appropriateness and relevance. Power imbalances, lack of trust, and communication difficulties impeded collaboration. According to respondents, many problems could be avoided if the community were involved from the beginning in setting research priorities and developing and implementing interventions. Meaningful collaboration between communities and researchers is characterized by early involvement of communities, power sharing, mutual respect, community benefit, and cultural sensitivity.

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