Collaborative Workshops for Community Meaning-Making and Data Analyses: How Focus Groups Strengthen Data by Enhancing Understanding and Promoting Use
Community-based participatory research is a growing approach, but often includes higher levels of community engagement in the research design and data collection stages than in the data interpretation stage. Involving study participants in this stage could further knowledge justice, science that aligns with and supports social justice agendas. This article reports on two community-based participatory environmental health surveys conducted between 2015 and 2019 in an industrial region near Marseille, France, and focuses specifically on our approach of organizing focus groups to directly involve residents and community stakeholders in the analysis and interpretation process. We found that, in these focus groups, residents triangulated across many different sources of information—study findings, local knowledge, and different types of expert knowledge—to reach conclusions about the health of their community and make recommendations for what should be done to improve community health outcomes. We conclude that involving residents in the data analysis and interpretation stage can promote epistemic justice and lead to final reports that are more useful to community stakeholders and decision-makers.