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Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS)

Research with purpose.
Research with impact.

Contact Us

Amanda Harrison
Manager, Honors and Scholars Programs

Anderson Hall, Room 112 on a map

Community-Based Research Scholars 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Welcome to the CBRS Home

The Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS) program is a selective, living-learning community experience that emphasizes community-based research through responsible and meaningful community-engaged service and learning opportunities. CBR Scholars have a network of students, faculty, and community partners to help identify avenues to effect social change.

In the Fall semester, first-year students will enroll in a CBRS-only section of Complex Problems, taught by some of AU's best faculty.  Additionally, students will take a lab course that introduces them to the principles of community-based learning, community-based research, and the fundamentals of social science research.

In Spring, students will deepen their classroom learning of community-based research through a large-scale project that will be co-designed with a major community partner. CBR Scholars are trained in research methods, research ethics, and issues relevant to the participating nonprofit's area of focus.

Students are offered admission to the program by invitation only at the time of their admission to the university. The program is open to incoming freshmen with demonstrated interest in community service, social justice, and research.

Program Features

  • Live, learn and serve together, establishing a strong community during their first years at AU.
  • Take a Complex Problems course and lab with passionate professors who connect course learning objectives with community needs and community-based learning.
  • Participate in a research methods course, with projects designed in collaboration with a local nonprofit.
  • Engage in ongoing personal and professional development designed to train them to be change agents in our communities.
  • Develop and maintain ongoing community relationships through service and research-oriented projects.
  • Connect with faculty mentors, investing in students' scholarly futures.
  • Build a relationship with peer mentor who has previously participated in the CBRS program while attending monthly activities.

What is Community-Based Research?

Community-Based Research (CBR) is a partnership of students, faculty and community members who collaboratively engage in research to inform solutions for a pressing community problem, identify avenues to effect social change or evaluate program impact.

The research project is community-informed, collaborative and action-oriented. The philosophy underpinning this approach is that the community members are the experts and solutions to a social issue should be informed by the persons affected by the issue.