Background: Principal investigators (PIs) of community-based projects are predominantly university faculty who partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) to find a place to conduct research in communities that will cooperate with their research objectives. University-managed research models (UMRMs) are not always beneficial for CBOs because the university usually manages the study, collects and owns the data, and leverages control at each stage of research, without priority to resolution of problems impacting the quality of life of participating communities.

Objectives: We present the principles of community-owned and -managed research (COMR), as a new community-driven research model developed by the West End Revitalization Association (WERA), a CBO in Mebane, North Carolina.

Methods: We describe WERA's development of COMR, compare the power hierarchies of COMR with traditional UMRMs, distinguish COMR partnerships from UMRM partnerships, discuss disbursement of funds, and control/ownership of data. As the PI of research activities, WERA drafted Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) for all partners, including academic researchers, implemented quality assurance and control procedures, submitted community research protocols for institutional review, and retained data ownership for action, activism, and problem solving. COMR methods encouraged corrective action of environmental justice (EJ) problems in affected communities, including provision of public, regulated drinking water and sewer services.

Conclusions: COMR promotes CBOs with demonstrated organizational capacity to PI and project manager. The COMR model goes beyond UMRMs and CBPR because it emphasized the credibility and capacity of CBOs to develop, own, manage, foster, and sustain viable research agendas to address ongoing environmental hazards and related threats to health and quality of life.


Additional Information

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pp. 339-349
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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