Designing and Facilitating Collaborative Research Design and Data Analysis Workshops: Lessons Learned in the Healthy Neighborhoods Study

One impediment to expanding the prevalence and quality of community-engaged research is a shortage of instructive resources for collaboratively designing research instruments and analyzing data with community members. This article describes how a consortium of community residents, grassroots community organizations, and academic and public institutions implemented collaborative research design and data analysis processes as part of a participatory action research (PAR) study investigating the relationship between neighborhoods and health in the greater Boston area. We report how nine different groups of community residents were engaged in developing a multi-dimensional survey instrument, generating and testing hypotheses, and interpreting descriptive statistics and preliminary findings. We conclude by reflecting on the importance of balancing planned strategies for building and sustaining resident engagement with improvisational facilitation that is responsive to residents’ characteristics, interests and needs in the design and execution of collaborative research design and data analysis processes.