About Engaged Research and Community Based Participatory Research

About Engaged Research at Rhodes University

Engaged Research lies at the heart of Rhodes University's commitment to fostering meaningful connections between academia and the broader community. Our university recognizes that knowledge generation and dissemination should not be confined to the ivory tower but should be powerful tools for positive social change. Through Engaged Research, we aim to bridge the gap between theoretical insights and practical solutions, addressing the pressing challenges faced by our society through collaborative engagement and co-creation of knowledge by all stakeholders.


Welcome to Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Engaged Research: An Introductory Guide

Engaged Research (ER) is a dynamic and impactful approach that brings together the world of academia and the practical needs of communities. Research should not exist in isolation; it should actively contribute to the betterment of society. This guide is designed to give you a comprehensive introduction to CBPR Engaged Research and how it plays a pivotal role within the higher education landscape. Engaged Research is a collaborative process involving researchers, community members  working together to address real challenges identified by the community. It goes beyond traditional research methods by prioritizing community involvement, knowledge sharing, and co-creation of solutions.

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is the highest form of Engaged Research and is based on the principles of mutual respect, shared decision-making and the equal distribution of power and resources. CBPR aims to address complex issues through a participatory process that engages community members as full partners in the research process.


“Engaged research includes the different ways that researchers meaningfully interact or collaborate with various stakeholders over any or all stages of a research process, from issue formulation, the production or co-creation of new knowledge, to knowledge evaluation and dissemination. Stakeholders may include target communities, and members of the public or groups that are somehow related to the research process.” Stellenbosch University 


“Engaged research describes a wide range of rigorous research approaches and methodologies that share a common interest in collaborative engagement with the community and aim to improve, understand or investigate an issue of public interest or concern, including societal challenges.” Irish Research Council


Principles of CBPR Engaged Research

Community-centered Approach: Engaged Research starts with listening to the community's needs, concerns and aspirations. The research is guided by the community's priorities, ensuring relevance and impact.

Collaboration and Partnerships: Collaboration is at the core of CBPR. Researchers, community members, local organizations, and other stakeholders work together as equal partners, combining their expertise to generate meaningful outcomes.

Shared Knowledge and Expertise: CBPR values diverse knowledge systems. It recognizes that community members possess invaluable insights based on their lived experiences, which enrich the research process.

Ethical Considerations: Ethical practices are fundamental to CBPR. Respecting the rights, cultures and dignity of all participants is paramount.

Sustainability: CBPR aims to create sustainable change. It goes beyond short-term solutions by considering the long-term impact of research outcomes on the community.



Holliman, Richard (2017). Supporting excellence in engaged research. Journal of Science Communication, 16(5) pp. 1–10.

Hall, Budd; TANDON, Rajesh. ‘‘Community Based Participatory Research and Sustainable Development Goals’’, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s IdeaLab, December 2017


Resources for Engaged Research 

Policies on CE, Promotions, Ethics Committee



Key, K. D., Furr-Holden, D., Yvonne Lewis, E., Cunningham, R., Zimmerman, M. A., Johnson-Lawrence, V., & Selig, S. (2019). The continuum of community engagement in research: A roadmap for understanding and assessing progress. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.1353/cpr.2019.0064

Tandon et al. (2016). Chapter 2: Theoretical Pedagogical Framework for Community Based Research. In Tandon et al (eds.) Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers, pp 7-39. UNESCO Chair CBR-SR and PRIA. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309763910_Training_the_Next_Generation_of_Community_Based_Researchers_A_Guide_for_Trainers 

Holliman, Richard (2017). Supporting excellence in engaged research. Journal of Science Communication, 16(5) pp. 1–10.https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12458

Mosavel, M., Simon, C., van Stade, D., Buchbinder, M. 2005. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) in South Africa: Engaging multiple constituents to shape the research question. Soc Sci Med, 61(12): 2577 -2587. Available at: doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.04.041.  






Last Modified: Tue, 12 Sep 2023 09:16:53 SAST