Enhancing Rigor, Relevance, and Equity in Research and Evaluation Through Community Engagement
This brief, authored by Megan Worden, Hilary Wagner, and Debra Wright summarizes key themes from the 2021 Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation Methods Meeting on Community-Engaged Research. Not only is engaging communities in research and evaluation critical for implementing effective programs, community members can bring valuable input to program evaluation, improving the rigor and relevance of the research. Engaging communities in research and evaluation—especially when identifying research questions, designing and implementing the study or intervention, recruiting study participants, and interpreting findings—may lead to more relevant research questions, greater recruitment success, increased external validity, greater retention of participants, and enhanced understanding of findings (Viswanathan et. al 2004). In this brief we define community engaged research, discuss the motivation for incorporating this approach, and provide examples, tools, and strategies for implementing community-engaged research.