alexa Challenges of participatory research: reflections on a study with breast cancer self-help groups.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Health & Medical Informatics

Author(s): Gray RE, Fitch M, Davis C, Phillips C

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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To review and discuss issues related to participatory research, as they apply within the arena of cancer control. DESIGN: A participatory research study with breast cancer self-help groups is referred to for description and discussion purposes. That study employed primarily individual and group interviews to assess benefits and limitations of self-help groups. SETTINGS: Four breast cancer self-help groups in Ontario communities provided the core involvement in the participatory research project. RESULTS: The values and practices of mainstream academic research often conflict with those of research emphasizing participation and control of communities under study, leading to a variety of challenges for the latter approaches. Practical constraints faced by many community groups have important implications for participatory research approaches. CONCLUSIONS: A balance needs to be found for participatory research within cancer control - one that ensures that the core aims of participatory research are maintained, while simultaneously acknowledging the various challenges that make a fully participatory project unrealistic. Steps can be taken to achieve a workable balance.
This article was published in Health Expect and referenced in Journal of Health & Medical Informatics

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