Community participation in research from resource-constrained countries: a scoping review

Michelle Brear, Karin Hammarberg, Jane Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Participatory health research (PHR) involves equitable community participation in all aspects of the research process. It is a potentially beneficial approach to research in resource-constrained countries. Measuring participation in specific activities and aspects is necessary for understanding the community and research-related benefits of PHR. The aims of this scoping review were to: develop a measure of lay-community participation in aspects and activities of PHR in resource-constrained countries; and use the measure to assess the nature and extent of reported participation. Directed content analysis was used to identify aspects and activities reported in peer-reviewed articles identified through a systematic search, develop the Comprehensive Community Participation in Research Framework (CCPRF) and use it to measure participation. Total and aspect participation scores, which considered both the nature and extent of participation, were calculated for articles reporting extensive participation. Eighty-five articles detailing 66 studies were included. Nine aspects and 49 activities of research were included in the CCPRF. Community participation was reported in a median of 5/9 (range 1-9) aspects and 8/49 (range 1-35) activities. The review provided diverse examples, and enabled development of a more comprehensive measure, of participation. It highlighted limited lay-community participation is reported in research labelled participatory from resource-constrained countries. As participation in all aspects of PHR is rarely achieved, strategic planning of more limited participation is imperative. More detailed and systematic planning, assessment and reporting of participation, guided by a comprehensive measure like the CCPRF, is required to develop evidence regarding the benefits of participation in various research activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-733
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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