For Covid-19 updates and information click here

What is a community-led research approach?

What’s involved?

This is an approach to research that involves people from a local community taking on a co-researcher role and collectively carrying out a piece of research or evaluation. The Community Researcher role is most often a volunteer role. This approach is normally used to respond to a local issue or question and coordinated or led by a local community agent such as a voluntary organisation or community project. Have a look at the example community-led research model.

Why use it?

This approach is rooted in the principles of participation and empowerment. This means that Community Researcher roles and responsibilities for planning, designing and carrying out the research project are shared. Data or information are gathered from local people by local people. As well as bringing their insight and experiences, Community Researchers are crucial for encouraging the involvement of local people. One benefit of this approach is the development of a team of co-researchers who probably will want to get involved with other research projects and develop their skills further.

How long does it take?

A Community Research project should be time limited, say six months, to ensure the momentum of the project. But, this is a research approach that does require sufficient time to give the support, guidance and co-ordination that will help ensure the success of your project.


  • Clarify roles and responsibilities right from the outset.
  • Ensure there is adequate time and resources available.
  • Plan a training schedule to build the Community Researchers’ skills and confidence.
  • Check that the project is communicated through clear and jargon-free language.


Code Resource Description
1a Example community-led research model Diagram showing the sequence of activities for developing a community-led research project.
1b Community researcher roles and responsibilities Information which sets out the roles and responsibilities of Community Researchers and the project facilitator.