Background: Although community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles stress the importance of "equitable partnerships" and an "empowering and power-sharing process that attends to social inequalities," descriptions of actual projects often focus on the challenges confronted in academic—community partnerships. These challenges occur in the context of economic and power inequities and the frequently limited diversity of researchers. Less often does this discourse attend to the link between the principles of CBPR and their empowering potential for community members who internalize and use these principles to hold outside partners accountable to these ideals.
Objectives: This article documents the participatory development and implementation of a community research workshop, the community and organizational contexts, the content of the workshop, and lessons learned. Workshop objectives included increasing community knowledge of the research process, positively impacting community members' perceptions and attitudes about research, and improving researchers' understanding of community knowledge, perceptions, and experiences with research.
Methods: This project was conducted as a part of the larger United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service (USDA ARS) Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (Delta NIRI). The workshop was developed by a joint academic–community team in partnership with a community-based workshop advisory committee (WAC) and implemented in three rural communities of the lower Mississippi Delta. Development included a dry run with the WAC, a pilot workshop, and a focus group to refine the final content and format.
Conclusions: Applying participatory principles to the development of the community research workshop resulted in the creation of a mutually acceptable workshop and co-learning experience that empowered community members in their involvement in other community research projects.