Community-Based Participatory Research


Civil, family, criminal, and other legal issues can be intertwined and have a significant impact on both individual and community well-being. These legal needs are experienced most acutely by people of color who reside in historically under-resourced neighborhoods. This can include people experiencing economic or housing instability, immigrants, and low-income families, among others. Yet, these populations are the hardest to reach and engage in research and policy change meant to improve the administration of justice.

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods aim to involve impacted communities when designing research around their perspectives, experiences, and ideas for systems improvement.

With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NCSC has established a CBPR program to create research on access to justice issues and racial equity in the courts through close collaboration with local courts and community leaders, organizations, and impacted people. Community partners will provide guidance and serve as co-researchers with NCSC staff who bring formal research training and background to the project.

The aim of this research is to:

  • increase awareness and responsiveness of courts to the needs of under-resourced Black and Brown communities,
  • strengthen community-based resources and responses to resident’s legal issues, and
  • promote fair, equitable, and inclusive models of holding court, whether they are in-person, remote, or hybrid.

NCSC will directly engage with courts and community organizations in the research to identify court practice and process improvements. This direct engagement with low-income communities of color will allow for greater insight and action on effective and sustainable changes.

Communities we are working with:

Details coming soon.

Details coming soon.

Details coming soon.

For more information, please contact Kelly Freeman, Principal Court Research Associate at NCSC.

Program Supported By:

W.K. Kellogg Foundation