Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Systematic review of community engagement approach in research: describing partnership approaches, challenges and benefits

Abebe, HT; Zerihun, Z; Mallen, C; Price, H; Mulugeta, A; Taffere, GR


HT Abebe

Z Zerihun

A Mulugeta

GR Taffere


Community engagement in research has gained momentum as people have realised the importance and value it brings to research. However, a lack of standardization in the engagement approach has been reported in the literature. This systematic review aims to identify and synthesize the different engagement approaches to contextualize future implementation efforts.

The databases Patient Centred Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for English language studies published between 2008 and 2021 that focused on stakeholder involvement and phases of research engagement. Independent reviewers conducted literature search, screening, quality assessment, data extraction and analysis following previous study formats.

Of the 2227 original articles retrieved, 125 were reviewed fully, of which 48 studies were included in this review. Of these 48 studies, 34 (70.8%) were health studies involving any form of engagement, while 14 (29.2%) were non-health. Most studies originated from high income countries, mainly the USA and engaged ethnic minorities, patients, disadvantaged groups and war veterans. All studies reported engagement at various levels. However, there was no standard criteria to select the type of engagement. Engagement with communities was used to develop research tools, identify research questions and harness local experiences. There were different terminologies and engagement approaches, which makes it difficult to synthesise and conceptualize the evidence.

Harnessing local experiences and perspectives by involving stakeholders at the earliest stage is beneficial in terms of clarifying approaches which best fits the local context. It is important to delineate between the traditional and community engagement approach.


Abebe, H., Zerihun, Z., Mallen, C., Price, H., Mulugeta, A., & Taffere, G. (2023). Systematic review of community engagement approach in research: describing partnership approaches, challenges and benefits. Journal of Public Health,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2022
Publication Date Jan 3, 2023
Journal Journal of Public Health
Print ISSN 1741-3842
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Publisher URL