Since the Black Lives Matter movement gained widespread support in summer 2020 and COVID-19 disproportionately worsened health and economic outcomes in communities of color, social science research, policy, and programs have accelerated their focus on racial equity and inclusion.

For policy researchers, a critical part of achieving greater racial equity includes examining the research field’s serious wrongdoings, history of exclusion, and power inequities and enacting strategies to include the voices and perspectives of communities most affected by these injustices. Community engaged methods (CEM) offer one way toward these goals.

In 2015, the Urban Institute published a Data Walk guide that shares how researchers can discuss data collaboratively with community members to ensure they are included in the research process, from study planning through data analysis. Its central theme is that making the research process accessible to community members strengthens the research itself.

This approach, though not new or revolutionary, has encouraged researchers, government agencies, private corporations, nonprofits, and others to open up their data-driven decisionmaking processes to the communities most affected by their work.

We recently published a second set of resources, the “Community Voice and Power Sharing Guidebook,” which builds on the Data Walk guide by giving researchers, practitioners, and policymakers a set of strategies to incorporate participatory methods into their work. The tools in the guidebook include community engaged surveys, community advisory boards (CABs), partnership building, and youth engagement.

Over the next year, Urban will publish additional CEM tools on institutional review board considerations for participatory methods, fair compensation for community partners, and racial equity through community engagement. These strategies can help researchers nurture a community’s strengths, making policy recommendations more effective and sustainable.

Read the full article about community engaged methods by Hannah Daly, Shubhangi Kumari, and Elsa Falkenburger at Urban Institute.