Community-based participatory research in rural African contexts: Ethico-cultural considerations and lessons from Ghana

Richard Appiah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Researchers conducting community-based participatory research (CBPR) with vulnerable populations in rural African settings are confronted with distinctive ethical and cultural challenges due to the community context of their research, their methods of investigation, and the implications of their findings for populations. Ethical considerations such as informed consent, the protection of privacy and confidentiality, and relationships between researchers and participants take on greater complexity and have implications beyond the individual research participant. Drawing on careful reflections of experiences from conducting mental health promotion intervention research using the CBPR approach and multi-methods in resource-poor rural communities in Ghana, we examine a range of ethico-cultural issues associated with community-based group intervention research in rural remote settings of Ghana. We offer suggestions to help researchers to envision and manage these complexities in a more appropriate way. Approaches aimed to promote relationships, fairness, respect, and cultural harmony between researchers and study participants are outlined. We urge prospective researchers to carefully explore and respect the cultural values and practices of community members and observe locally-defined ethical values and principles when conducting CBPRs in rural African settings to minimise ethics dumping and safeguard the integrity of their research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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