Community Engaged Research (CEnR)

Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity (Carnegie Foundation).

Community engaged research (CEnR) falls on a research continuum where being community-driven is at one end and being academically driven is on the other.   CEnR involves various types of partnerships between the college, including its knowledge and resources, with public and private sector partners to achieve a variety of goals.  Those goals, as summarized by the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, include:

  • enriching scholarship, research and creative activity
  • enhancing curriculum, teaching and learning
  • preparing educated, engaged citizens
  • strengthening democratic values and civic responsibility
  • addressing critical societal issues
  • contributing to the public good

Merrimack College encourages research in and between departments and schools and in collaboration with other educational institutions, agencies, and community organizations.  Current research areas include social-behavioral, biomedical, and community-engaged research.  The IRB reviews research submissions from across the Merrimack research community to ensure they adhere to basic ethical principles underlying the acceptable conduct of research involving human subjects.


For faculty, students and others interested in pursuing community engaged research projects, here are some links and resources to help inform, guide and enhance your research efforts.

CITI Training Modules for CEnR

CITI also provides three modules for those interested or active in CEnR.  Those modules can be accessed through the CITI program login page - click here.

After logging in to the CITI program page:

Click on the ‘Courses’ option near the top of the page

If you have completed the Social and Behavioral Research module, click on the ‘Review Course’ button

Scroll down to the ‘Optional Modules’ section, under the Modules heading you will find the following three training modules pertaining to community engaged research:

Introduction to Community Engaged Research (CEnR)
This module discusses the meaning of the term “community,” the disciplines and social movements that contributed to the development of CEnR, and the principles that guide CEnR. It also identifies the differences between a traditional research approach and the CEnR approach.

Introduction to Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
The module discusses the historical context for CBPR’s framework and philosophical foundation, strategies for effectively using CBPR, and the ways a CBPR approach benefits and otherwise impacts communities, as well as academic researchers and their organizations. It also identifies the ways CBPR differs from traditional approaches to research.

Ethical and Practical Considerations in Community-Engaged Research (CEnR)
This module identifies the ethical and practical considerations particular to the design, review, and conduct of CEnR. It also demonstrates how to apply ethical risk-benefit assessments for CEnR, the varying impacts that risks and benefits may have on individual research participants as well as on communities and groups, and strategies for training and educating community members on a research team.