Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

April 2009


Many disciplines, including Public Health, have recognized the importance of participatory research methods in creating change in communities. The ability of participatory research to create change- particularly in behaviors- is what makes it such a promising area of research in health promotion. Whereas the value of participatory research is recognized, a “disconnect” exists in that the support mechanisms for this research are not in place. In fact, many researchers are encouraged to forgo the use of participatory research methods via the policies or biases of tenure and promotion committees, funding agencies and institutional review boards. These entities may claim to support participatory methods, but the time commitment and level of autonomy given to the community in participatory projects do not align with the current cultures of these entities. Using the frameworks of Komives, Lucas and McMahon’s Relational Leadership Model as well as Kotter’s Process of Creating Major Change, institutional support of participatory research is an achievable goal.