GS 202- T2
March 22, 2013
From Castleden et. al.
1. What are the key characteristics for community-based participatory research (CBPR)?
In the past First Nation communities have been researched by academics without consent
and without reporting the findings back to the community. This has brought concern from
communities and an annoyance by this research. As means of continuing research on these
groups CBPR has been introduced as a means of interacting with the community on a
participation based level. The community is involved in the problem defining, methodological
development, data collection, analysis and communication of the findings. For this research it is
important to work closely with the participants to develop an effective means of answering
research questions. The goals are to equalize power differences, build trust, and create a sense of
social justice and change.
2. What is Photovoice? How can it be useful as a research method?
Photovoice is a form of PEP that allows participants both with little power and those with
more power in discussion using a photography as a catalyst to begin conversation. The goals of
Photovoice are to assist individuals with recording and reflecting on select community issues, to
encourage group dialogue on these and, to influence policy-makers. By allowing the participants
to photograph their surroundings empowers them to use and document their lives like they may
not have previously had access, it also allows an individual to engage with their social location
like they may not have been able to previously, it also empowers vulnerable populations such as
women in patriarchy societies.
This research is often used in health studies of groups marginalized by the health care
system to document their struggles and seek change. By allowing a group to take photographs
they can document their own experiences as evidence which can later be used to bring change.
This also brings a sense of healing to those struggling as they bring change to their surroundings.
Overall, this type of research is successful with vulnerable populations as it gives them power in
the research relationships and allows them to feel equal in the data collection. It also brings a
sense of trust because they are able to document the story that they wish to tell rather than that of
3. Can participants ever be 'equal partners' on all fronts? In what ways are the power relations
maintained despite this methodology?
Through CBPR power is attempted to be balanced on the individual level and the
community level through an Advisory Committee’s decisions. The researcher is some ways still
holds power because they decide what to include in the final report and any bias the researcher
has will be evident in the report. But also the participant holds a great deal of power because
only what the participant decides to present the researcher with can be studied. In many ways the
participant can guide the findings towards a goal or specific outcome. Because the research is
participant voluntary and through Photovoice the participant records what they wish anything left
out of these photos and discussions shouldn’t be asked about by a researcher.
4. We don’t get a sense of how and whether and to what extent the opinions of participants
remain confidential in this project. What impact might this have on the research results? The voluntary participation of the participants and their eagerness to participate make me
think that the level of confidentiality is unimportant. Th