SI-CBPAR: Towards structural indicators of community-based participatory action research

Beth E. Meyerson, Danielle M. Russell, Arlene Mahoney, Irene Garnett, Savannah Samorano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Structural aspects of community-engaged research are not well measured yet have critical implications for community research empowerment. This is particularly so with people who use drugs. We introduce the Structural Indicators of Community-Based Participatory Action Research (SI-CBPAR) to measure structural indicators of community-research entity relationships. Methods: A three-phased process of iterative development, feasibility and applicability assessment was used to examine the instrument with community-engaged studies as a first stage of instrument development. The development team included people with university, non-government organisation and lived/ing drug use experience. Four studies on the health of people who use drugs were reviewed for indicator evidence followed by iterative discussion about construct and item discrepancies. Indicators were measured for the degree to which they were observed using a three-point scale. Results: All but two constructs were confirmed for meaning. Constructs of ‘community’ and ‘coalition’ required revision and explanation. The need for further exploration of power differentials between community and community-based organisations was identified. Indicator evidence was found for all six categories across studies. The instrument was deemed applicable and easy to use. It was observed that categories could apply to studies with various degrees of community engagement and to other research focal areas. Discussion and Conclusions: SI-CBPAR applicability testing and initial category confirmation indicate its potential utility for community research collaboratives. The next phase of development involves cognitive interviewing with researchers from across community engaged research orientations, and with communities engaged in research beyond drug user health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1061
Number of pages13
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2024


  • community-institutional relations
  • engagement measurement
  • harm reduction
  • instrument development
  • people who use drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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