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Third Annual


COMMON PROBLEMS, UNCOMMON RESOURCES:  Exploring the Social and Economic Challenges to Community-Based Research

June 16-18, 2000

On the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

 FAQs Agenda proposals 2000 CRN Report         

Communities are transforming research...

Focused on solving real problems and redressing social inequities, community-based research (CBR) is a powerful tool that enables citizens to determine how and to what ends research will be conducted in their communities. CBR is by design ethically robust. A growing body of cases demonstrates that CBR is not only good science, but often produces more useful, action-oriented results for the communities that participate in CBR projects.

The theme of this year’s conference—Common Problems, Uncommon Resources: Exploring the Social and Economic Challenges to Community-Based Research—reflects the growth and vitality of community-based research. In the short period since the publication of our initial reconnaissance of community-based research in 1996, numbers of projects, funding availability, and the involvement of researchers and community participants have more than doubled. 

With this maturity comes new challenges and new opportunities. For example, community-based research can be especially valuable to disadvantaged or marginalized communities, yet it is often most difficult to secure funding and resources to conduct CBR in these areas.  Now is the time to challenge our international network of grassroots organizers, researchers, community organizations, students, funders, and government agencies—The Community Research Network—to address these barriers and develop strategies for overcoming them. 


Common Problems and Uncommon Resources”, uses four tracks to direct our attention to questions that are critical to the development of CBR. The reasoning behind the four tracks is that each of the specified areas is critical to the success of  CBR in general, and to the growth of the Community Research Network (CRN) in particular. In other words, each could be the theme of this year’s conference. 

Track I:  Race, Class, Gender, and Culture — Challenges to CBR Participation
Many of the problems that CBR is most effective in addressing are found disproportionately in communities of color. Women, workers, and even people living in cultural homogeneous communities, face circumstances that present rich ground for community-based research projects. In spite of the special needs of each of these groups, each also faces special difficulties in gaining access to CBR support and resources. This track examines how and why this severe disparity exist between needs and resources.  View descriptions of workshops in this track.

Track II:     Capacity Building for Sustainability in CBR
Even as the resources for the conducting CBR projects increases, CBR practitioners and community organizations struggle to find sufficient resources to initiate new projects. Moreover, when such funding is secured, the research project completed, finding resources for developing a supported infrastructure to assist in translating the research into action, or for sustaining action to more mature and effective stages is next to impossible.  In this track we explore the problem of building local, regional, and national infrastructures to support and sustain community based research projects and follow-ups. The track examines ideas to strengthen the Community Research Network, and other networks of practitioners. It also develops plans and structures for mutual support.  View descriptions of workshops in this track.

Track III:     Techniques in CBR [the how to’s
The CRN Annual Conference brings together folks interested in CBR from around the world—some who are new to the field, some who are old hands. The workshops in this track will describe techniques in the basics of CBR—finding partners, determination of task, etc. Also, new approaches to capacity building, survey techniques, and use of technologies—such as GIS—will be explored. View descriptions of workshops in this track.

Track IV:     Communication—Building Ethical Bridges
Once the decision is made to conduct research using the CBR methodology, the single most critical element in determining the success or failure of the project, is communication. For us, communication must include a fair and open negotiation between equal partners. The ethical principles on which CBR methodology is based, require that questions of power, control of resources, and the use and dissemination of the products be fully discussed and determined by equitable negotiations. In this track we will explore the basis principles on which CBR is based, techniques for improving communication, and methods for ensuring that the research partnership is one among equals.  View descriptions of workshops in this track.

Before coming to the conference, think about what you would like come away with from each of the tracks. In addition to attending the track’s workshops, participants will develop strategies for addressing issues central to the track to guide the CRN’s work in the coming year. We will welcome your contribution to a more democratic and effective Community Research Network.

Keep checking this site for more discussion on each of the tracks, questions on relevant issues, and proposals for improving CBR in each of the four areas.

We hope to see you at the June 16-18th Community Research Network Conference at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.  While we hope to accommodate all who register for the conference, we will keep a waiting list in the case that registrants exceed our capacity. If you have any questions that are not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions Page, please contact the Loka Institute:

Email: Loka@Loka.org    Tel: +1-413-559-5860    Fax: +1-413-559-5811
PO Box 355 Amherst, MA 01004, USA

To read more about past CRN conferences, check out the 1999 CRN conference or the 1996 CRN conference.


Funding for this conference is made possible by the C.S. Mott Foundation and the W.K. Kellgg Foundation's Managing Information with Rural America (MIRA) Initiative.


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