Can public health researchers and agencies reconcile the push from funding bodies and the pull from communities?

Am J Public Health. 2001 Dec;91(12):1926-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.12.1926.


Responding to growing impatience with the limited application of research findings to health practices and policies, both funding bodies and communities are demanding that research show greater sensitivity to communities' perceptions, needs, and unique circumstances. One way to assure this is to employ participatory research-to engage communities at least in formulating research questions and interpreting and applying research findings and possibly also in selecting methods and analyzing data. "Community" should be interpreted broadly as all who will be affected by the research results, including lay residents of a local area, practitioners, service agencies, and policymakers. Participatory research should not be required of every project, but when results are to be used for, in, and by communities, those communities should collaborate not only in applying findings but also in determining the ways in which the findings are produced and interpreted.

MeSH terms

  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Health Care Rationing*
  • Humans
  • Public Health Practice / economics*
  • Research Design*
  • United States