Community Based Participatory Research: A Research Approach Useful for Understanding the Global Challenges of Social Work
Workshop Coordinator: Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot, University of Minnesota, USA.
Date and time: Thursday, November 8th, 9:00-11:00
Location: Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, 90 Panduri Street, Sector 5, Bucharest
This workshop will introduce Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) as an approach to social work research that is gaining more prominence internationally. CBPR is a research approach which involves long-term engagement and power-sharing with community members and organizations. Social work, with its ecological and empowerment approach, has a natural affinity with the CBPR approach to research. In CBPR, researchers and community members work together in collaborative, non-hierarchical ways, where each partner’s expertise is recognized and valued, with the goal of producing knowledge that may be directly applied to community issues. Ideally, in CBPR community members and researchers co-identify important community issues that need further exploration; co-create partnerships that identify the most appropriate methods to explore the issue; co-collect the information in ways that can engage the community in the data collection process; and then co-analyze the data in order to find the deep meanings and context of the community’s lived experiences. Exploring social welfare issues in this manner can result in more valid and reliable information that is more relevant to people’s lives, and thus can result in the development of more sustainable programs, interventions or solutions to social problems.
Using an in depth case example, this workshop will introduce attendees to the key principles of CBPR, compare CBPR to other types of social science research, and present an overview of typical research methods employed when using a CBPR approach to research. While there are challenges in using a CBPR, it is a positive, realistic approach to understanding issues of importance to the community, and provides a starting point for taking action in a way which builds trust between professionals and local communities. For social work researchers interested in appropriately addressing societal issues, CBPR is a natural fit.
About the trainer
Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot is a Professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work. She has been on faculty at the University of Minnesota since 1999 and has been the doctoral program director there since 2006. Her main research interests are in the area of disability policy and services, and the intersections of disability with child welfare, aging, violence prevention and health. She currently has several research projects underway exploring parental supports for parents with disabilities, and also is working on several projects regarding doctoral education in social work. The MSW courses she teaches regularly include social work with people with disabilities and community practice. She regularly teaches doctoral seminars in social policy and research, has supervised 21 doctoral dissertations, and has been on the committees of many other doctoral students. She is the past-president of the President of the Group for the Advanced for Doctoral Education (GADE).
She is spending the 2018-2019 academic year on sabbatical as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Bucharest in Romania, and previously was a Fulbright scholar in Namibia in 2008.