Cover: Trust and the Ethical Conduct of Community-Engaged Research

Trust and the Ethical Conduct of Community-Engaged Research

Published in: European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare, Volume 5 Issue 4 (June 2017), Pages 522-526. doi: 10.5750/ejpch.v5i4.1263

Posted on Feb 14, 2018

by Dmitry Khodyakov, Lisa Mikesell, Elizabeth Bromley


Community-engaged research (CEnR) emphasizes equal participation of academic and community partners in research and seeks to improve public trust in science. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of rigorous empirical research on trust as a core component of ethical conduct of CEnR. Drawing on data collected from a project on the ethics of CEnR, this paper discusses the benefits and risks of trust and uses the concept of embeddedness to explain how public trust in science may be increased.


We argue that in developing and maintaining trust, partners must balance scientific rigor with community relevance and cultural appropriateness of research. They must strike a balance between working with the same limited pool of trusted partners, which can speed research but slow wider acceptance of science and extending their trust to new partners, which can broaden acceptance of science but slow research.


Practitioners may facilitate the development of trust in science by gradually expanding the pool of partners they choose their collaborators from.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.