Principles and Practices of Community Partnerships


  • To develop a working understanding of principles and practices of community partnerships in YPAR
  • To develop an understanding of the intricacies and complexity of ethics in research


  • Butcher paper/flip chart paper (1 piece per every 4 participants)
  • Black markers (1 per every 4 participants)
  • Colorful markers (1 per participant)
  • Pens
  • Paper
  • “Principles and Practice Scenario Slips” handout (1 copy per every 4 participants)

Prepare Before

Write “Principles” at the top of half of the pieces of butcher paper/flip chart paper. Write “Practices at the top of the other half. Cut out scenario slips. Make sure there are enough scenario slips for every participant to have their own once they are cut out.

Warm Up

Ask the participants to do an individual quick write on the following prompt: “Think about a time when you entered a new group and felt welcomed and included. What helped you feel good within this group?”


Split into small groups of 3-­4 people. Give groups either “principles” or “practices” chart paper for each group to focus on. Then have groups do the following:

  • Co­construct a definition of the focus concept (what do we mean by the word “principles” or “practices?”) This definition is for the group to use during their brainstorm.
  • Brainstorm a list of ideas that fit under focus concept of “principles” or “practices” of community partnerships. What does it take to do good work with people? Write these on chart paper using a black marker.

Next do a gallery walk by having groups post their chart papers on the wall. Give each participant a marker that is any color but black. Have participants walk around the room and silently read the charts (including their own). As participants have thoughts, comments, and questions, they can add them to the chart paper. Participants should take a few laps around the room to add to the silent discussion.


Facilitate a discussing with the following reflection questions:

  • What themes did you notice across the posters?
  • What new thoughts do you have about working in community partnerships and/or on YPAR teams?
  • How do principles and practices connect?  Does one influence the other?


Principles and practices are intricately connected in YPAR.  It is important to discuss both principles and practices often throughout the research process, as new situations and phases within the research may raise new ethical dilemmas and considerations.  Let’s try out the principles and practices we just generated on some scenarios.  It may be that we’ll want to add some new practices or principles to our list as we think about the scenarios.


Pass out scenario slips to each participant.  Ask the participants to do an individual quick write on their thoughts about the scenario and the three questions asked on the slip. Have participants find the others who were given the same scenario and form groups.  In the small groups, participants should read and discuss the following questions:

  • What would you do?
  • What principles and practices from our list could support us in best navigating this scenario?
  • What new principles or practices might need to be considered?
  • How are the concepts of power and identity playing a role in this scenario?
  • Play with the scenario– how could it be tweaked to raise other salient issues for you

If you have time, facilitate a fishbowl debrief. Have participants sit in a large circle, with space for a smaller circle, or “fishbowl” within the large group circle.  Have one of the small groups enter the fishbowl and discuss their scenario conversation. Outside circle members can enter the free seat or space in the fishbowl when they have a question or idea they wish to contribute.  Fishbowl participants can leave the fishbowl when they are ready to allow new contributions.  The following prompts can support the fishbowl participants:

  • What came up in your scenario conversation?
  • What might you want to add or adjust to the list of principles and practices?

If there is time after the fishbowl debrief, facilitate a whole group discussion with the following question:

  • What question, thought, or idea do you want to take with you as you leave today?