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      Our Health: exploring interdisciplinarity and community-based participatory research in a higher education science shop


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          This paper presents a qualitative case study of the experiences of student and community partners involved in collaborative health research in the context of an extra-curricular higher education science shop: Our Health. Our Health community partners set research questions around health and well-being, and conduct research with interdisciplinary groups of students using a community-based participatory research model. Our case study explores the benefits and challenges that this approach raises for students and community partners as they navigate the complexities of stepping beyond disciplinary boundaries and relationships to develop new research insights and methodologies. This qualitative case study draws on: grounded theory to analyse online focus groups with participating undergraduate students and community partners; semi-structured interviews with graduate students and key university staff members; and online project meetings. For the latter, we used non-participant observation to observe community members and students at work in online meetings, co-creating evolving knowledge around the lived experiences of health issues. Through these methods, we developed a deeper understanding of the relational modes of community–student collaboration in community-based participatory research. Our findings demonstrate the key role played by interdisciplinarity in the context of a community-based participatory research approach in enabling students and community partners to develop their intrapersonal skills, health research skills and knowledge integration skills, while strengthening connections between the academy and wider communities.

          Most cited references21

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          Review of community-based research: assessing partnership approaches to improve public health.

          Community-based research in public health focuses on social, structural, and physical environmental inequities through active involvement of community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process. Partners contribute their expertise to enhance understanding of a given phenomenon and to integrate the knowledge gained with action to benefit the community involved. This review provides a synthesis of key principles of community-based research, examines its place within the context of different scientific paradigms, discusses rationales for its use, and explores major challenges and facilitating factors and their implications for conducting effective community-based research aimed at improving the public's health.
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            The Discovery of Grounded Theory

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              A systematic review of the impact of patient and public involvement on service users, researchers and communities.

              Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research has expanded nationally and internationally over the last decade, and recently there has been significant attention given to understanding its impact on research. Less attention has been given to the impact of PPI on the people involved, yet it has been shown that the success of PPI in research can be reliant on the processes of engagement between these individuals and communities. This paper therefore critically explores the impact of PPI on service users, researchers and communities involved in health and social care research.

                Author and article information

                Research for All
                UCL Press (UK )
                31 August 2022
                : 6
                : 1
                : 18
                [1 ]School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
                [2 ]School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
                Author notes
                Author information
                Copyright 2022, Liam Gilchrist, Alette Willis and Helen Szoor-McElhinney

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 29 June 2021
                : 20 June 2022
                Page count
                Tables: 3, References: 18, Pages: 13

                Assessment, Evaluation & Research methods,Education & Public policy,Educational research & Statistics
                interdisciplinary,health,undergraduate students,community-based participatory research,responsible research and innovation


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