Online Program

Can community-based participatory research be conceptualized as social movement? An innovative theoretical framework to assess the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Marie-Claude Tremblay, PhD, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Ann C. Macaulay, MD, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Debbie Martin, PhD, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Kaylia Marquis, Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, Kahnawake, QC, Canada
Alex McComber, PhD, Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, Kahnawake, QC, Canada
Judi Jacobs, Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, Kahnawake, QC, Canada

Mechanisms and processes through which community-based participatory research (CBPR) influence health are not fully understood. Evaluation of CBPR usually avoids addressing social dynamic changes and group-level processes generated by this kind of initiatives. A relevant theoretical framework is needed in order to move CBPR evaluation on and better understand these projects. 


This communication aims to present a theoretical framework based on social movement theory used to assess a CBPR project, the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP). KSDPP is a long-standing CBPR project aiming to prevent Type 2 diabetes in an Indigenous community, Kahnawake (Quebec).


We built on social movement theory to develop a theoretical framework that could be used to investigate social change processes in the context of KSDPP. Social movement theory examines the conditions under which collective action emerges and develops in order to promote social change around a specific issue, providing a great array of theoretical tools to understand and facilitate those processes.


The framework developed emphasizes similarities between CBPR and social movement. Both can be conceptualized as the result of a collective action promoting social change catalyzed by opportunities (e.g. political, social, temporal), resources (e.g. money, facilities, means of communication, knowledge, skills, expertise, labor and legitimacy) organizational features (e.g. leaders, members or followers, and organizations or coalitions), and using a collective action frame (interpretative discourse) to mobilize adherents.


Using a social movement theory lens to assess a CBPR project could provide innovative insights in order to evaluate and improve those initiatives.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe an innovative theoretical framework to assess and understand community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects. Explain CBPR community-level processes using a social movement theory framework. Identify concrete levers that can be acted on in order to facilitate collective action and to maximize the impacts of a CBPR project.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: During my PhD in public health, I was interested in evaluating the different processes and outcomes arising as a consequence of health promotion interventions. My training opportunities have led to my interest in collaborative evaluations of complex health promotion interventions. My proposed post-doc project aims to assess the community level outcomes of a participatory health promotion program (the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project – KSDPP) in an Indigenous community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.