Community-based participatory research : where research meets the field

During my internship, I am working on a project aiming to identify the social network of injecting drug users (IDUs) consuming in the presence of other IDUs in order to better understand hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV transmission patterns between IDUs. Understanding transmission patterns can help improving harm reduction (HR) strategies. Focusing on a very specific community for this project got me interested in the way this kind of research can be put in place, and how the objectives and research questions are defined. I learned about Community based research (CR), a particular way of doing research involving equitably “community members, organizational representatives and researchers in all aspects of the research process” [1]. CR can help defining relevant objectives and facilitate the implementation of the research project but also has its challenges.

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