Article Text

Community-based health research. Issues and methods
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1. Dao Lan Huong

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Edited by Daniel S Blumenthal, Ralph J Di Clemente. Springer Publishing, 2003, $39.95 (USA),$44.80 (other countries), pp 218. ISBN 0-8261-2025-3

This book is a very interesting referent document for those who work in the public health research field. In fact it is more appropriate for researchers with some experiences in doing public health research rather than junior students. The readers can find some actual examples with in depth analysis on each case, which is very useful for them. However these examples and illustrations are more focused on American and African countries, so that it weakens the global and international application of the book.

Strengths: one of the strengths of this book is to identify and synthesise the key issues and principles for working with communities. It can be used as a theoretical frame for training courses on community based research. The contribution of this book is to emphasise the importance of community based research, which sometimes is forgotten by traditional epidemiological study. It also brings the sight and attention to the involvement of the community to research, change their role from target group to co-researcher, and from positive to active involvement.

Weaknesses: the authors tried to prepare a comprehensive document on community based research, which included all the issues like introduction, principles, methods, and examples/experiences. But the readers, after looking at the title of the book, are more interested in learning more specific issues and methods for community based research, and in how to distinguish it from public health research in general. It would have been more interesting if the authors had clarified more clearly the differences in methodology applications in epidemiological and community based research.

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