Skip to main content
Log in

A Community-Based Participatory Research Process in a Poor Swedish Neighbourhood

Systemic Practice and Action Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Health is not equally distributed and various neighbourhoods differ from each other in terms of people’s health and other social and economic variables. Numerous efforts are undertaken to develop healthier and more sustainable neighbourhoods, and a key concern in the process is citizen participation. Due to the challenge of conducting research in poor neighbourhood’s complementary research approaches with a more practice-based and democratic knowledge development are needed. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a partnership approach that aims to conduct collaborative knowledge production and to use the research findings for public health interventions. This paper sets out to describe and analyse a community-academic partnership and a CBPR process within a poor neighbourhood in Sweden. Two years of fieldwork were conducted at 26 meetings comprising 84 h in a CBPR group including a researcher, and lay and professional stakeholders. Participatory observation and detailed meeting process-notes were used when doing a qualitative thematic analysis. Eight different developmental phases was identified in the implementation of a CBPR process and four key lessons were found to be important. These were that a community-academic partnership should (1) accept different levels of participation in different phases; (2) openly discuss mutual expectations and individual prerequisites; (3) unmask power and authority; and (4) allow the work to take the time it needs. The design, process, and result of the CBPR project are relevant for local community-academic partnerships using a CBPR approach with the goal of increasing participation as a means of improving people’s health and well-being in poor neighbourhoods.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Bell S, Morse S (2010) Triple task method: systemic, reflective action research. Syst Pract Action Res 23(6):443–452. doi:10.1007/s11213-010-9171-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Biggs SD (1989) Resource-poor farmer participation in research. A synthesis of experiences from nine national agricultural research systems. OFCOR Comparative Study Paper 3 International Service for National Agricultural Research, Hague

  • Blackman T (2006) Neighbourhood renewal, health improvement and complexity. Policy Press, Bristol

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Blasius J, Friedrichs J, Galster G (2009) Introduction. Quantifying neighbourhood effects. In: Blasius J, Friedrichs J, Galster G (eds) Quantifying neighbourhood effects. Frontiers and perspective. Routledge, London, pp 1–10

    Google Scholar 

  • Braun V, Clarke V (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol 3(2):77–101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burgers J, Vranken J (2004) How to make a successful urban development programme. Experiences from nine European countries. Garant, Antwerpen–Apeldoorn

    Google Scholar 

  • Cornwall A, Jewkes R (1995) What is participatory research? Soc Sci Med 41(12–12):1667–1676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dahlgren G, Whitehead M (1991) Policies and strategies to promote social equity in health. Stockholm Institute for future studies

  • DeWalt KM, DeWalt BR (2002) Participant observation. A guide for fieldworkers. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek

    Google Scholar 

  • Eriksson C, Granvik M, Kindblad I, Lindgren G, Nyström L, Rosén M, Wall S (1981) Health problems in a Swedish county. What can we learn from official sources? Soc Sci Med 15C:143–151

    Google Scholar 

  • Fitzpatrick K, La Gory M (2011) Unhealthy cities: poverty, race, and place in America. Routledge, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Freudenberg N, Galea S, Vlahov D (2006) Cities and the health of the public. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville

    Google Scholar 

  • Fröding K, Eriksson C, Elander I (2008) Partnership for healthy neighbourhoods: city networking in multilevel context. Eur Urban Reg Stud 15(4):317–331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fröding K, Larsson L, Wentzel G, Österdahl K (2009) Delaktighet för utveckling av en hälsosam stadsdel. Participatorisk forskning i Baronbackarna [Participation in the development of a healthy neighbourhood. Participatory research in Baronbackarna]. Örebro

  • Fröding K, Elander I, Eriksson C (2011) Neighbourhood development and public health initiatives: who participates? Health Promot Int. doi:10.1093/heapro/dar024

    Google Scholar 

  • Fung A (2006) Varieties of participation in complex governance. Public Adm Rev 66(s1):66–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Galea S, Vlahov D (2005) Urban health. Populations, methods, and practice. In: Galea S, Vlahov D (eds) Handbook of urban health. Polpulations, methods, and practice. Springer, New York, pp 1–15

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Galuppo L, Gorli M, Ripamonti S (2011) Playing dissymmetry in action research: the role of power and differences in promoting participative knowledge and change. Syst Pract Action Res 24(2):147–164. doi:10.1007/s11213-010-9181-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geidne J, Fröding K, Montin S, Eriksson C (2012) Implementation structure and participation at neighbourhood level. A multiple case study of neighbourhood development in Sweden. Syst Pract Action Res. doi:10.1007/s11213-012-9227-y

    Google Scholar 

  • Graham H (2007) Unequal lives. Health and socioeconomic inequalities. Open university press, Maidenhead

    Google Scholar 

  • Green L (2001) From research to “best practise” in other settings and populations. Am J Health Behav 25(3):165–178

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green J, Tones K (2010) Health promotion. Planning and strategies, 2nd edn. SAGE, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes D (2007) Participant observation in health research. In: Saks M, Allsop J (eds) Researching health. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. SAGE, London, pp 92–111

    Google Scholar 

  • Huxham C, Barr C (1996) Involving the community: collaboration for community development. In: Huxham C (ed) Creating collaborative advantage. SAGE, London, pp 110–125

    Google Scholar 

  • Israel BA, Schulz AJ, Parker EA, Becker AB (1998) Review of community-based research: assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annu Rev Public Health 19(1):173–202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Israel BA, Lichtenstein R, Lantz P (2001) The Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center: development, implementation, and evaluation. J Public Health Manag Pract 7(5):1–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Israel BA, Shulz AJ, Parker EA, Becker AB (2003) Critical issues in developing and following community based participatory research principles. In: Minkler M, Wallerstein N (eds) Community-based participatory research for health. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

    Google Scholar 

  • Israel BA, Eng E, Schulz AJ, Parker EA (2005) Introduction to methods in community-based participatory research for health. In: Israel Barbara A, Eng E, Schulz Amy J, Parker Edith A (eds) Methods in community-based participatory research for health. Josse-Bass, San Francisco

    Google Scholar 

  • Kawachi I, Berkman LF (eds) (2003) Neighborhoods and health. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Labonte R (2005) Community, community development, and the forming of authentic partnerships. Some critical reflections. In: Minkler M (ed) Community organizing and community building for health, 2nd edn. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, pp 82–96

    Google Scholar 

  • Lantz PM, Viruell-Fuentes E, Israel BA, Softley D (2001) Can communities and academia work together on public health research? Evaluation results from a community-based participatory research partnership in Detroit. J Urban Health 78(3):495–507

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Larsson J (2000) Formal consensus and democracy. Report 48. Örebro University, Centre for Urban and Regional Research Örebro

  • Linden-Bostrom M, Persson C, Eriksson C (2010) Neighbourhood characteristics, social capital and self-rated health: a population-based survey in Sweden. BMC Public Health 10(1):628

    Google Scholar 

  • Lindén-Boström M, Persson C (2013) A selective follow-up study on a public health survey. Eur J Public Health 23(1):152–157. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckr193

  • Loewenson R, Laurell AC, Hogstedt C (1994) Participatory approaches in occupational health research. Solna: Arbetsmiljöinstitutet, Arbete och hälsa 38:1–61

    Google Scholar 

  • Lundberg B, Starrin B (2001) Participatory research. Tradition, theory, and practice. Division for Social Sciences, Karlstad University Studies, Karlstad

    Google Scholar 

  • Mercer SL, MacDonald G, Green LW (2004) Participatory research and evaluation: from best practices for all states to achievable practices within each state in the context of the master settlement agreement. Health Promot Pract 5(3 suppl):167S–178S

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merriam SB (2009) Qualitative research. A guide to design and implementation. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

    Google Scholar 

  • Minkler M, Wallerstein N (2003) Introduction to community based participatory research. In: Minkler M, Wallerstein N (eds) Community-based participatory research for health. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, pp 3–26

    Google Scholar 

  • Molarius A, Berglund K, Eriksson C, Lambe M, Nordstrom E, Eriksson H, Feldman I (2007) Socioeconomic conditions, lifestyle factors, and self-rated health among men and women in Sweden. Eur J Public Health 17(2):125–133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Molarius A, Berglund K, Eriksson C, Eriksson H, Linden-Bostrom M, Nordstrom E, Persson C, Sahlqvist L, Starrin B, Ydreborg B (2009) Mental health symptoms in relation to socio-economic conditions and lifestyle factors: a population-based study in Sweden. BMC Public Health 9:302

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nutbeam D (1996) Achieving ‘best practice’ in health promotion: improving the fit between research and practice. Health Educ Res 11(3):317–326. doi:10.1093/her/11.3.317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ottmann G, Laragy C, Damonze G (2009) Consumer participation in designing community based consumer-directed disability care: lessons from a participatory action research-inspired project. Syst Pract Action Res 22(1):31–44. doi:10.1007/s11213-008-9110-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parry J, Laburn-Peart K, Orford J, Dalton S (2004) Mechanisms by which area-based regeneration programmes might impact on community health: a case study of the new deal for communities initiative. Public Health 118(7):497–505

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patton MQ (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd edn. SAGE, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Schulz AJ, Israel BA, Lantz P (2003) Instrument for evaluating dimensions of group dynamics within community-based participatory research partnerships. Eval Program Plan 26(3):249–262

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scriven A, Hodgins M (2012) Health promotion settings. Principles and practice. SAGE, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Stewart M (2003) Neighbourhood renewal and regeneration. In: Orme J, Powell J, Taylor P, Harrison T, Grey M (eds) Public health for the 21st century. New perspectives on policy, participation and practice. Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp 177–191

    Google Scholar 

  • Suarez-Balcazar Y, Harper GW, Lewis R (2005) An interactive and contextual model of community–university collaborations for research and action. Health Educ Behav 32(1):84–101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Svensson L, Aagaard Nielsen K (2006) A framework for the book. In: Aagaard Nielsen K, Svensson L (eds) Action research and interactive research. Shaker, Maastricht, pp 13–44

    Google Scholar 

  • Svensson L, Ellström P-E, Åberg C (2004) Integrating formal and informal learning at work. J Workplace Learn 16(8):479–491

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Svensson L, Eklund J, Randle H, Aronsson G (2007a) Interactive research. An attempt to analyse two change programmes. Int J Action Res 3(3):250–277

    Google Scholar 

  • Svensson L, Ellström P-E, Brulin G (2007b) Introduction on interactive research. Int J Action Res 3(3):233–249

    Google Scholar 

  • Svensson L, Bennich M, Randle H (2009) Organising workplace learning. An inter-organisational perspective. J Eur Ind Train 33(8/9):771–786

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanborn P (2010) Case study research. What, why and how?. SAGE, Los Angeles

    Google Scholar 

  • Teddlie C, Tashakkori A (2009) Foundations of mixed methods research. Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences. SAGE, Los Angeles

    Google Scholar 

  • Thomson H, Petticrew M, Morrison D (2001) Health effects of housing improvement. Systematic review of intervention studies. BMJ 323:187–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tydén T (2006) Aspects of interactive research in the Nordic countries. A historical perspective. In: Aagaard Nielsen K, Svensson L (eds) Action research and interactive research. Beyond practice and theory. Shaker, Maastricht, pp 143–178

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Beckhoven E, Van Boxmeer B, Szemző H (2009) Local participation in large housing estates. A comparison of the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary. In: Rowlands R, Musterd S, van Kempen R (eds) Mass housing in Europe multiple faces of development, change and response. Palgrave Macmillian, Basingstoke

    Google Scholar 

  • Vranken J, De Decker P, Van Nieuwenhuyze I (2003) Social inclusion, urban governance and sustainability: towards a conceptual framework. Garant, Antwerpen–Apeldoorn

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein N (2006) What is the evidence of effectiveness of empowerment to improve health?. WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein N, Duran B (2006) Using community-based participatory research to address health disparities. Health Promot Pract 7(3):312–323

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whitman S, Shah A, Benjamins M (2010) Urbqan health: combating disparities with local data. Oxford University Press, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • WHO (1978) Alma-Ata 1978. Primary health care. WHO, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • WHO (1986) The Ottawa charter for health promotion. First international conference on health promotion. WHO, Copenhagen

  • WHO (2008) Closing the gap in a generation. Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the commission on social determinants of health. WHO, Geneva

  • Wilkinson R, Pickett K (2009) The spirit level. Why more equal societies almost always do better. Penguin Books, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Yassi A, Fernandez N, Fernandez A, Bonet M, Tate RB, Spiegel J (2003) Community participation in a multisectoral intervention to address health determinants in an inner-city community in central Havana. J Urban Health 80(1):61–80

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to all group members in the CBPR who made this study possible. Thank you for your engagement, enthusiasm, and valuable experience. We would also like to acknowledge the Partnership for Sustainable Welfare Development for initiating this local CBPR process. In addition, thanks to all the residents who willingly participated in the interviews. The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning supported the study and the research team/program “The Healthy City: Social Inclusion, Urban Governance, and Sustainable Welfare Development”.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing or financial interests.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Karin Fröding.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fröding, K., Elander, I. & Eriksson, C. A Community-Based Participatory Research Process in a Poor Swedish Neighbourhood. Syst Pract Action Res 28, 19–36 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-014-9319-y

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-014-9319-y

Keywords

Navigation