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Community-Based Research (CBR)


Community-based research (CBR) is a collaboration and partnership approach that brings together community and academic expertise to explore and create opportunities for social action and social change, while using their area of expertise.

Working to understand local issues and how they affect the community through research is a great start to developing useful, local knowledge. Community-based research can influence policy decisions and improve community practices and service-delivery.

By partnering with academic institutions and other research experts, community agencies can gain opportunities for:

  • Organizational needs assessments
  • Applying university knowledge resources to create a detailed analysis of a subject can be of immense help when educating the public, or supporting an organization—especially nonprofits, local government, and advocacy groups.
  • Environmental and social research in the community can greatly support organizations with limited means, and lead to educated action for community improvement.
  • capacity building in areas such as grant writing and evaluation skills.


Project Examples

Community-based projects are as varied as the needs of the community vary, they are not always the same.

Some research projects can include the following:

  • Promotion or awareness campaigns for an agency or a community issue of concern 
  • Evaluation and recommendations based on historical trends or data 
  • Surveys and focus groups to assess the needs of an agency or its clients
  • Scientific testing or studies 


What do students get from community-based research?

Participating in community-based research is a form of service to the public good. Students are able to look at big ideas using their academic knowledge, while providing important contributions to community needs such as removing the various social, cultural, and logistical barriers/efforts of community partners.


CBR provides students with real-world experience of developing research and statistical skills along with other career-essential skills:

  • Improved critical-thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills
  • Heightened awareness of community needs
  • Collaboration with faculty and community partners
  • Graduate study and career options
  • Enhanced resume

How to get involved?

Community-based research can be found in all colleges and majors. You may begin by volunteering or taking a service learning course in an area of interest. From there, connect with a faculty mentor that shares your passion and commitment to a cause. They can work with you to build relationships and develop a research project or you can speak with your Academic Advisor to see how you can get started. 

Publish your Community-Engaged Work

The Community-Engaged Student Repository is a publishing outlet to showcase the research and scholarly output of CSUSB students. This repository is an excellent vehicle for community-focused papers, articles, research, and projects.

Having your work published makes you more competitive when applying for internship, jobs, and even graduate school! Most importantly, ScholarWorks is open and available for the community, which can make your work the catalyst of improving local communities around the world! Here’s how you can submit your work:


Step 1 – Visit our Website

Visit to browse and learn more about OCE’s ScholarWorks Repository. Click the link to the Community-Engaged Student Repository category to submit work for publication.


Step 2 – Login or Sign up to ScholarWorks

If it is your first time on CSUSB’s ScholarWorks, you will need to create an account. Returning scholars will be prompted to log in and be redirected to the Community-Engaged Student Repository category previously chosen.


Step 3 – Submit Your Work!

Click Submit Research under the Author Corner section on the left side of the screen. Once you acknowledge the submission agreement, you’ll be asked basic information about your work and provided a section to upload your files. Once submission is complete, OCE staff members will review, recommended edits if necessary, and publish your work!

If you have any questions or would like to publish a document to OCE's ScholarWorks repository, please contact Diane at