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Frequently Asked Questions

Review our frequently asked questions for more information on how to best engage the community, patients, and partners in your research.

 Why consider community, patient or partner engagement in our research?

Engaging communities, patients and partners can take time and may be unfamiliar to some scientists. Generally, benefits of engagement in research include:

  • Facilitating research on issues involving health disparities benefit from patient, community and partner perspectives
  • Developing culturally acceptable strategies for research design and implementation, including recruitment and retention of research participants
  • Increased trust generated through engagement may mitigate wariness of populations who remain suspicious of research, university scientists or healthcare systems
  • Collaboratively developing findings and interventions that will have a greater chance of being disseminated and implemented, in part due to the inclusion of decision-making and policy-making partners
  • Meeting the needs of public and private funders who increasingly are demanding engaged research strategies

 What are the specific reasons for including community, patient or partner engagement in our research?

Consider the specific research questions or area of focus of your research and be clear about the purposes and goals of the engagement effort you are considering. How are you hoping that engagement will add to your research project’s appropriate design and focus, feasibility for success and sustainability, acceptance by a community, rigor, impact?

 How can I best incorporate engagement into my research project?

Engagement offers a promising approach for ensuring the research and interventions are culturally sensitive and responsive to community needs, as well as increasing the likelihood of generating meaningful and sustainable results. Engagement can also improve research outcomes by helping to avoid common pitfalls that can cause projects to fail (e.g., low enrollment, low intervention fidelity). Increasingly, engagement is recognized as necessary for translating existing research to implement and sustain new health promotion programs, change clinical practice, improve population health and reduce health disparities.

Download our Key Considerations document (PDF) for frequently asked questions related to incorporating engagement into different phases of your research project.

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