Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture, presuming that their own social conventions are universal. Cultural bias can have an effect on any research but is often a problem central to research in the social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
Cultural Competency in Research
Cultural Competency in research is the ability of researchers and research staff to provide high quality research that takes into account the culture and diversity of a population when developing research ideas, creating the theoretical and conceptual framework, designing the study, conducting research, interpreting and exploring the applicability of the research findings, and disseminating the results. Cultural Competence in Research plays a critical role in study design and implementation processes, including the development of research questions and hypotheses, outreach and recruitment strategies, consent activities, data collection protocols, analyzing and interpreting research findings, drawing conclusions and presenting the results. Cultural competency across all these research processes helps to ensure the research is applicable to diverse populations and if necessary can be adapted to meet the target population's social, cultural, and linguistic needs.
Community-Based Participatory Research
CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to a specific community, with the aim of combining knowledge and action for social change to improve or benefit the community. Community engagement is a core element of CBPR research. It requires academic members to become part of the community and community members to become part of the research team, thereby creating a unique working and learning environment. An understanding of Cultural Competence in Research is required for successful and culturally safe CBPR and community engagement, as well as for effective research design, implementation, and recruitment of research participants for all research methods.
Community Engaged Learning
Many CEL activities will be deemed to not be human subjects research (NHSR) or will be eligible for an exemption. Please use the Course application for an initial review to determine if the activity is deemed NHSR, eligible for Exemption, or will need another level of IRB review. The Course Review IRB form will ask you to suggest and defend the determination you think will apply, but the IRB will document the final determination.
No matter what determination is made, it is important that you provide your students with some sort of training that addresses cultural awareness and professional and research ethics before they are immersed in Community Engaged Learning activities.
CITI training in Human Subjects protection and Responsible Conduct of Research is highly recommended for all CEL courses. CITI Research Compliance Courses
If the course involves interaction with minors, please be sure that you and your students are familiar with the Kenyon Protection of Minors Policy
Working with Minors: Information for Those Participating in College
Affiliated Programs or Activities Involving Minors
Community Engaged Learning/Research - Concerns for the IRB in the review of CEL/CBR activities/research projects
CEL and the IRB - includes examples of probable IRB determinations for different CEL activities
Photovoice Handbook for Social Workers: Method, Practicalities and Possibilities for Social Change.
Jarldorn, Michele. Palgrave Macmillan, . see especially Ethics and Ethical Dilemmas with Photovoice and Participatory Action Research.
Dolgon, C., Mitchell, T., & Eatman, T. (Eds.). (2017). The Cambridge Handbook of Service Learning and Community Engagement (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316650011
Study of CEL course participants
Guthman, Julie, "Bringing good food to others: investigating the subjects of alternative food practice"
First Published October 1, 2008, Research Article. cultural geographies, 2008, v. 15: 431–447.
https://doi-org.libproxy.kenyon.edu/10.1177/1474474008094315 - Kenyon Library link
This article may help us think through how we go about CEL projects that actually do engage positively with a community.