International Participatory Research Framework: triangulating procedures to build health research capacity in Brazil

Health Promot Int. 2012 Dec;27(4):435-44. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar090. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


This study advances Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) by presenting a set of triangulated procedures (steps and actions) that can facilitate participatory research in myriad international settings. By using procedural triangulation-the combination of specific steps and actions as the basis for the International Participatory Research Framework (IPRF)-our approach can improve the abilities of researchers and practitioners worldwide to systematize the development of research partnerships. The IPRF comprises four recursive steps: (i) contextualizing the host country; (ii) identifying collaborators in the host country; (iii) seeking advice and endorsement from gatekeepers and (iv) matching partners' expertise, needs and interests. IPRF includes the following sets of recursive participatory actions: (A(1)) becoming familiar with local languages and culture; (A(2)) sharing power, ideas, influence and resources; (A(3)) gathering oral and written information about partners; (A(4)) establishing realistic expectations and (A(5)) resolving personal and professional differences. We show how these steps and actions were used recursively to build a partnership to study the roles of community health workers (CHWs) in Brazil's Family Health Program (PSF). The research conducted using IPRF focused on HIV prevention, and it included nearly 200 CHWs. By using the IPRF, our partnership achieved several participatory outcomes: community-defined research aims, capacity for future research and creation of new policies and programs. We engaged CHWs who requested that we study their training needs, and we engaged CHWs' supervisors who used the data collected to modify CHW training. Data collected from CHWs will form the basis for a grant to test CHW training curricula. Researchers and community partners can now use the IPRF to build partnerships in different international contexts. By triangulating steps and actions, the IPRF advances knowledge about the use of CBPR methods/procedures for international health research.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Capacity Building / organization & administration*
  • Communication
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / organization & administration*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cultural Competency
  • Global Health
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans