The CoSAGE Approach

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The CoSAGE approach is founded upon the following two important principles.

Health is determined by multiple factors.

Health, wellness, and disease are influenced by the interactions between hereditary factors, lifestyle, and environmental exposures.

Research is stronger when citizens and scientists are working together.

Citizen science is broadly defined as public engagement in research. In fact, public engagement in research has expanded considerably in the last two decades and includes citizen monitoring of ecological resources (Jordan et al., 2011), to citizen engagement in the use of online gaming strategies to study protein folding (Hand, 2010) to citizen contributions to commercial biobanks (Saha and Hurlburt). The cornerstone of these efforts is the realization that new knowledge and discovery are strengthened through citizen contributions. The CoSAGE Project uses a community-based participatory research approach as the gateway to citizen science in our efforts to study challenging health problems. 

The CoSAGE Project community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach is grounded in the following values and principles (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008):

  • Sustainable---the CoSAGE structure and processes are designed in such a way that they can be continued over the long term with shared resources.
  • Partnership---the CoSAGE partners are equitable collaborators through all phases of research; the CoSAGE processes promote co-learning and capacity building for all partners.
  • Community-Based and Community-Driven---CoSAGE recognizes community as the unit of identity, building on the values, beliefs, strengths, and resources of the      community.
  • Research linked to Action---CoSAGE links discovery with health innovations and action that promote wellness across generations for our partner community.
  • Locally Relevant---CoSAGE discovery and action is driven by community needs linked to researcher expertise.
  • Long-term Commitment---the best outcomes will occur through research that occurs over an extended period of time, allowing for long term data collection, careful analysis of new information, and development of innovative approaches to enhance sustainable community development and well-being.

Hand, E. (2010). People power: networks of human minds are taking citizen science to a new level. Nature, 466, 685-687.

Jordan, R.C., Gray, S.A., Howe, D.V., Brooks, W.R., & Ehrenfeld, J.G. (2011). Knowledge gain and behavioral change in citizen-science programs, Conservation Biology, 25(6), 1148-1154.

Saha, K., & Hurlburt, J.B. (January 4, 2012). Opinion: Occupy Science? Biomedical research can learn from citizen science, which is grounded in strong relationships with study participants. The Scientist. Retrieved at