Reflections on Researcher Identity and Power: The Impact of Positionality on Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Processes and Outcomes
Muhammad M. et al (2014) Reflections on Researcher Identity and Power: The Impact of Positionality on Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Processes and Outcomes, Critical Sociology 1–20
The practice of community based participatory research (CBPR) has evolved over the past 20 years with the recognition that health equity is best achieved when academic researchers form collaborative partnerships with communities. This article theorizes the possibility that core principles of CBPR cannot be realistically applied unless unequal power relations are identified and addressed. It provides theoretical and empirical perspectives for understanding power, privilege, researcher identity and academic research team composition, and their effects on partnering processes and health disparity outcomes. The team’s processes of conducting seven case studies of diverse partnerships in a national cross-site CBPR study are analyzed; the multi-disciplinary research team’s self-reflections on identity and positionality are analyzed, privileging its combined racial, ethnic, and gendered life experiences, and integrating feminist and post-colonial theory into these reflections. Findings from the inquiry are shared, and incorporating academic researcher team identity is recommended as a core component of equalizing power distribution within CBPR.