CBRI Principles of Success

Entering Partnerships (Adapted from Community-Based Research and Higher Education, Strand et al, 2003): 

  • 1) Partners share a worldview. This includes basic philosophical assumptions about people, communities, society and how they connect with one another. Also, there has to be a common understanding of who constitutes the community (28-30).
  • 2) Agree about goals and strategy. There should be an agreement about the desired outcomes of the joint endeavor, along with similar ideas about the best strategies for achieving the goal (including the different roles and contributions of members of the CBR team) (30).
  • 3) Have a trust and mutual respect. Partners trust that the other can be counted on to do the right thing, in other words, they will make a genuine effort not to compromise the others interests. They will also work to develop a faith in the collaborative process itself and understand the value of such (31).

Conducting Partnerships

  • 4) Partners share power. This means that campus and community partners participate fully in shaping decisions about their work together (33).
  • 5) Communicate clearly and listen carefully. All participants must avoid inaccessible language of their discipline or community, take care to clarify meanings and assumptions that may be obscure to outsiders, and otherwise work to develop a common discourse that will ensure inclusive and fruitful subsequent interactions among participants (35).
  • 6) Understand and empathize with each others circumstances. The organizational structure of the community organizations and colleges and universities can be dramatically different on almost all fronts. One of the most fundamental differences is in their calendars (36).
  • 7) Remain flexible. The willingness to alter course in order to deal with any of a variety of unexpected turn of events (p61).

Outcomes of Partnerships

  • 8) Satisfy each others interests and needs. Although both partners are significantly invested in the goals of the research project, both parties also have additional goals that they would like to meet. Both parties have the opportunity to assist one another in these particular achievements (38).
  • 9) Have their organizational capacities enhanced. The most successful partnerships are those that increase the skills and knowledge of participants on both sides of the partnership (39).
  • 10) Adopt long-range social change perspectives. Effective long-term partnerships are the ones that keep a collective eye on long-term goals and recognize that each short term CBR project can make an incremental contribution toward the larger goal of changing social arrangements in a more fundamental way (40).


Open discussion about each partners aims and intentions allows students, faculty, and community partners to share the power to define reality, strengthen their partnership, undertake better research, and enhance capacity of each (52).

Page last modified July 23, 2014