This practical text integrates theoretical perspectives with guidelines for designing and implementing community-based qualitative research projects. Coverage of participatory research designs and approaches is complemented by chapters on specific aspects of this research process, such as developing relationships and sharing findings to strengthen programs. Included are useful handouts and templates for applying to the reader’s own projects, and end-of-chapter questions for self-reflection and class discussion. Readers will find the book’s engaging case studies, interdisciplinary real-life examples, and insights from project participants as a helpful foundation for future work in the field.

Project Design


This chapter provides guidelines and information for initiating and designing CBQR projects. Areas to be covered include the development of relationships with community members and local organizations, identifying and refining research interests and purposes, and charting a plan for data collection. Although the design of community-based studies is flexible and emergent, and often dependent on the changing and dynamic community contexts within which the projects take place, researchers nevertheless need to begin the project with a clear plan for data collection, acknowledging that this plan could change. Before beginning a project, academic researchers need to spend time familiarizing themselves with the community and community-based organizations and getting to know leaders and residents.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students will be able to:

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