Lessons Learned through the Creative and Iterative Process of Community-Based Participatory Research

  • Judith Powers University of Wyoming
  • Sharon Ann Cumbie University of Wyoming
  • Clarann Weinert Montana State University


The purpose of this article is to examine lessons learned through the process of a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project that attempted to implement an innovative approach to community research in partnership with a clinical outcomes research project. Principal investigators were convinced that collaboration would be workable and mutually beneficial. When they reached the point where they were entering the community to begin their work, however, investigators came to realize the full implications of the divergence of their respective research principles and methods. Approaches that benefited both teams initially brought them to see that neither project would be able to achieve its individual research goals if the two teams continued to operate in tandem. The design that brought these teams together ultimately proved unworkable. The reflective and iterative process of CBPR empowered investigators to recognize and learn from both their success and failures and thus gain better control over their respective projects.