Training and Educational Tools

One of our objectives is to teach our CTR investigators how to better engage community members, understand and prioritize community concerns, engage community members around research topics, and disseminate research results. With this in mind, we continually survey our network of institutions for resources, services, and tools that can help with community-centered research and improve research outcomes. Below are some of the submissions we’ve received. Also, be sure to look over our community-focused seminarsCTR Seminar Series, and Dissemination and Implementation Workshop.

“The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a nationwide consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions collaborating to provide all trainees across the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences with evidence-based mentorship and professional development programming.”

“The Bureau of Sociological Research (BoSR) has provided a range of research services for faculty, staff, administrators and students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since it was established in 1964.  BOSR actively works with UNL investigators on the design, implementation and completion of survey research projects.  BOSR also provides research services for state, government and local organizations outside of the University.  Information collected by BOSR is helpful for program evaluation, budgeting justifications, and planning purposes.”

“The Social & Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium (SBSRC) is inspired by a vision of the University of Nebraska’s premier excellence in social behavioral sciences research, characterized by highly visible, well-funded, coordinated, transdisciplinary research that solves vital societal problems.”

“The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center delivers high-quality and client-focused services. Our multidisciplinary researchers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience and are regularly invited to present at national conferences and publish their findings in scholarly journals. Through our services, the Center has impacted diverse policy areas at the local, state, and federal levels. We thrive on collaboration. Working to define the issue, finding approaches to resolve the issue, and evaluating outcomes. What we do makes communities safer, enhances government efficiency and effectiveness, and improves lives.”

“Geared towards researchers and clinicians, the learning center features multiple clinical research presentations and clinical presentations available in a ‘Nuts and Bolts series’ focusing on Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Medicine. Our goal is to provide training and program development that capitalizes on effective hearing technology, innovative educational methodology, current auditory strategies, reflective educational practices, sound leadership models, and state-of-the-art distance technology.”

Additionally, BTNRH also offers services regarding software to support the creation of complex plots and consultations for minority group recruitment strategies. Contact BTNRH for these services.

“To help new and established applicants submit better applications, CSR asked current and recent study section chairs to share their personal insights on producing a highly competitive NIH grant application.”

Download the ‘CSR Insider’s Guide to Peer Review for Applicants’ 

In October 2017, the Great Plains IDeA CTR hosted its Annual Science Meeting which included breakout workshops in topics such as community engaged research and grant writing. Below are a few of the materials made available that attendees found informative and beneficial. 

Download ‘Engaging the Community in Research’ materials, courtesy of Paul Estabrooks, PhD 
Download ‘Tools for Effective Grant Writing’ handout, courtesy of Paul Casella, MFA

 “For over a decade, the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care, or NAP SACC Program, has worked with early care and education programs to set preschool children on a lifelong path to healthy eating and activity… The NAP SACC team developed self-assessment, action planning, and educational tools to help early care and education programs set goals and make improvements to their nutrition and physical activity practices. Technical assistance providers trained as NAP SACC consultants used these tools to coach programs through NAP SACC’s 5-Steps to healthy change. Whether you’re a child care provider or a technical assistance professional, Go NAP SACC makes it easier than ever to give the children in your community a healthy start.”

“The successful design, implementation, and dissemination of research in community settings can present unique challenges.  Faculty, professional staff and experienced community partners are available to help by providing expertise on these and other issues including: education and training materials, data Links (databases, demographics, health statistics, etc.), toolkits (Survey tools, multicultural resources, networks, UNMC centers), and policies and programs.”


For more information, please visit the resources for the community-engaged researcher page.

“The recruitment toolkit highlights effective strategies for investigators and others to work in diverse populations. Developed by the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI), the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) hub housed at the University of Southern California, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, this toolkit aims to develop greater capacity and success in research participant recruitment, particularly in the recruitment of underrepresented populations such as ethnic minorities.”

Download the ‘‘Tips and Tricks for Successful Research Recruitment: A Toolkit for a Community-Based Approach’ courtesy of SC CTSI

“Increased specialization of research expertise and methods has made interdependence, joint ownership, and collective responsibility between and among scientists near requirements. These features of team science may not suit everyone, but given these current trends, most researchers likely will find themselves asked to participate on or lead a research team at some point in their careers. Why do some research teams achieve a state of high functioning while others do not? What factors maximize a research team’s productivity or effectiveness? How can research teams best be recognized, reviewed, and rewarded? Collaboration and Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide was developed to help answer these and other questions.” –NCI Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide

“A variety of challenges exist in the field of CE, such as misunderstanding of methods by newcomers, or gaps in communication among practitioners due to differences in practice or terminology. Historically, there has been no formal model to contextualize all practical methods of applying CE. In efforts to create a common dialog about CE practices, we are proposing a comprehensive model for CE that outlines different components and provides a common reference for all types of CE practitioners.”


Ahmed, S., Neu Young, S., DeFino, M., Franco, Z., & Nelson, D. (2017). Towards a practical model for community engagement: Advancing the art and science in academic health centers. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1(5), 310-315. doi:10.1017/cts.2017.304


Download ‘Towards a practical model for CE – Advancing the art and science in academic health centers,’ courtesy of Cambridge Core and the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

Health literacy plays a critical role in engaging the public in actions and decisions about health. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health literacy issues affect everyone across the range of socio-demographic characteristics, including, but not limited to, age, educational attainment, income level, English language proficiency, and insurance status. It is vital to consider different levels of health literacy when designing messages for any purpose that are meant for public consumption. To educate researchers and the public of the importance of health literacy, the Nebraska Association of Local Health Departments (NALHD) has provided a best practices guide and plain language checklist.

Download ‘Health Literacy 101: Best Practices’

Download ‘Quick Checklist for Plain Language’

This panel discussion was hosted by the Research Audiologist Information Support Network (RAISN) and Boys Town National Research Hospital. RAISN was established to provide a network to support and promote the field of research audiology and to share resources within the RAISN community.


Effective Recruitment and Retention Strategies for Special Populations in Research focuses on community-based recruiting strategies and ethical issues and approaches to recruiting research participants via social media. Presenters discuss specific challenges and solutions for recruiting and retaining research participants in a variety of settings. Featured speakers include Holly Lynch, JD, MBE, Scott D. Rhodes, Ph.D., MPH, FAAHB, and Judy Kopun, MA.

Much like a needs assessment, conducting focus groups can help a researcher gain insight into the thoughts and opinions of a community. When done correctly, focus groups allow researchers to get broad, nuanced, and open-ended responses that may provide important perspective regarding research methods, new programs or services, or feedback that may lead to a new way of thinking about a problem. Since designing and conducting focus groups are not intuitive, we have put together some useful tools and strategies that can assist researchers when deciding if a focus group would be constructive, and how to successfully implement a focus group.

The Community Tool Box is a free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. The Community Tool Box is a public service developed and managed by the University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development. The Tool Box contains invaluable information on best practice engagement concepts, skills and strategies, to include conducting focus groups.

Community Toolbox


The following guide to conducting a focus group has been posted by the University of Mississippi Office of Institutional Effectiveness, prepared and copywritten by Eliot & Associates.

Guidelines for conducting a focus group


This guide was developed by Dr. Richard A. Krueger of the University of Minnesota, containing outlines, step by step instructions, and scripts that can be used.

Designing and conducting focus groups


This more in depth guide is offered by the NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, an organization devoted to partnerships, science, and good policy, housed within the National Ocean Service. Although not health or medicine focused, the guide can be adapted for use in these areas.

Introduction to conducting focus groups


This article, published by Rosanna Breen of the University of Technology Australia, guides readers through the decisions and considerations involved in conducting focus-group research investigations into students’ learning experiences using a case study approach.

A practical guide for focus group research


Association of American Medical Colleges Principles of Trustworthiness


Deserving trust is crucial to equitably partner with the communities you engage and to achieve health justice. Remember, though, the process of engagement is as important as the product. Here are 10 principles that community stakeholders endorse as the guiding compass on your journey to establishing trustworthiness.


Download the ‘AAMC Principles of Trustworthiness

Understanding science is an important first step to conducting research. Since we promote the inclusion of community members and organizations as partners in research, we must also provide resources to educate about what “scientific research” is and how we can reliably conduct research. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has provided a concise and informative introduction to scientific research, a great resource for newcomers to scientific research and great source of answers to commonly asked questions concerning science. Click on the link below.


Decoding Science