Faculty Beliefs, Perceptions, and Level of Community Involvement in Their Research: A Survey at One Urban Academic Institution
Journal of empirical research on human research ethics : JERHRE 2010 Dec; 5(4): 65-76
Health researchers are increasingly interested in how best to engage communities in their health-related research studies. To help determine how researchers have interacted with community members in their research, we conducted a survey of full-time faculty from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions regarding researchers' beliefs and experiences with community-based research. Approximately 41% of respondents who conducted human subject studies had enrolled local residents in their research. Researchers whose studies were based in the surrounding community were significantly more likely to involve community members in all stages of their research (e.g., selection of the problem, project planning, data collection, interpretation and dissemination of results, or developing an intervention) than were faculty whose studies enrolled community members as research participants but whose studies were not set in the community. Over 90% of all faculty respondents agree that community involvement improves the relevance of their research, although almost 60% had not done so. Most faculty value community involvement, but they want more institutional support for such activities and they seek better skills to involve community. Few studies have surveyed researchers who enroll community members as research participants to document practices regarding community involvement in the research process. Given that the majority (73.6%) of faculty responded that they intend to include local residents in their upcoming studies, future research to evaluate interventions designed to facilitate community involvement, especially in the inner city, would help stakeholders identify best practices for involving and engaging communities in health research.
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