Capacity building through focus group training in community-based participatory research

K. L. Amico, M. L. Wieland, J. A. Weis, S. M. Sullivan, J. A. Nigon, I. G. Sia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Community-based participatory research (CBPR) emphasizes collaborative efforts among communities and academics where all members are equitable contributors. Capacity building through training in research methodology is a potentially important outcome for CBPR partnerships. Objectives: To describe the logistics and lessons learned from building community research capacity for focus group moderation in the context of a CBPR partnership. Methods: After orientation to CBPR principles, members of a US suburban community underwent twelve hours of interactive learning in focus group moderation by a national focus group expert. An additional eight-hour workshop promoted advanced proficiency and built on identified strengths and weaknesses. Ten focus groups were conducted at an adult education center addressing a health concern previously identified by the center's largely immigrant and refugee population. Program evaluation was achieved through multiple observations by community and academic-based observers. Results: Twenty-seven community and academic members were recruited through established relationships for training in focus group moderation, note-taking, and report compilation. Focus group training led to increased trust among community and research partners while empowering individual community members and increasing research capacity for CBPR. Conclusions: Community members were trained in focus group moderation and successfully applied these skills to a CBPR project addressing a health concern in the community. This approach of equipping community members with skills in a qualitative research method promoted capacity building within a socio-culturally diverse community, while strengthening community-academic partnership. In this setting, capacity building efforts may help to ensure the success and sustainability for continued health interventions through CBPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Capacity building
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Focus groups
  • Immigrant or ethnic populations
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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