Researching health in diverse neighbourhoods: critical reflection on the use of a community research model in Uppsala, Sweden
Mahmud, Amina J
Objective A community research model developed in the United Kingdom was adopted in a multi-country study of health in diverse neighbourhoods in European cities, including Sweden. This paper describes the challenges and opportunities of using this model in Sweden. Results In Sweden, five community researchers were recruited and trained to facilitate access to diverse groups in the two study neighbourhoods, including ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities. Community researchers recruited participants from the neighbourhoods, and assisted during semi-structured interviews. Their local networks, and knowledge were invaluable for contextualising the study and finding participants. Various factors made it difficult to fully apply the model in Sweden. The study took place when an unprecedented number of asylum-seekers were arriving in Sweden, and potential collaborators’ time was taken up in meeting their needs. Employment on short-term, temporary contracts is difficult since Swedish Universities are public authorities. Strong expectations of stable full-time employment, make flexible part-time work undesirable. The community research model was only partly successful in embedding the research project as a collaboration between community members and the University. While there was interest and some involvement from neighbourhood residents, the research remained University-led with a limited sense of community ownership.