A realist review of community engagement with health research


  • University of Oxford

Project summary

We will conduct a comprehensive review of community engagement (CE) using a realist review approach appropriate for tackling the conceptual complexity and practical diversity of the field. A team of world-leading experts in the theory and practice of CE will be supported by an advisory panel of internationally renowned realist review scholars. The review will begin with engagement with malaria research as a ‘pathfinder’ topic and draw on a network of experts, implementers and funders.

Our consolidated evidence base will underpin development of CE strategies in global health research and interventions. Outputs will include articles in peer-reviewed, open-access journals, an accessible evidence base on MESH/HELP, including guidance for developing and evaluating CE strategies and a critical mass of academics, practitioners, implementers and funders with a mutual interest in strengthening the theory and practice of engagement. 

The review will spearhead the beginnings of a ‘science’ of community engagement and outline a clear value proposition for CE in global health research.