Challenges and Rewards of Health Research in Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities

Nancy Lightfoot, Roger Strasser, Marion Maar, Kristen Jacklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article, based on our collective experience of conducting population-based and industrially based health research in partnership with northern, rural, and remote communities in Canada and Australia, will convey the related challenges and opportunities, and provide recommendations. Methods: (1) The role(s) of northern, rural, and remote communities; (2) ethics requirements; (3) study budgets and contracts; (4) questionnaire design, response rates, and the collection of biological specimens; and (5) preparation and presentation of results, their impact, knowledge translation, and future studies were considered. Results: In our experience, it is important to be collaborative, respectful, and have a regular physical presence in such communities. Academic and community ethical review of the proposed research may be required. Written research proposals, contracts, and a communication plan for the results are strongly recommended. Questionnaire construction and acceptable methodology impact study success. Regular in person feedback to the communities is essential. It is important to collaboratively establish future related research priorities. Conclusions: Although academic evaluation can promote the desire for the conduct of more rapid health research, successful research with northern, rural, and remote communities should build community capacity and requires time, a continuing presence, collaboration, respect, and active community involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Remote
  • Rural


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