Evolving public health nursing practice is demonstrated by the community participation and ethnographic model. The model is built on the assumptions related to community based participatory research (CBPR) and encourages the community members and trusted community leaders to be engaged in problem identification, project evaluation and dissemination processes. The critical and social action theory provides the philosophical basis for CBPR approach. It creates partnerships with members from different social economic status and maintains balance between community members and researchers through shared leadership, teaching and learning between each group.
Public health nurses and community partners are able to be sensitive to ecological context and culture which is important in health promotion since community participation and ethnographic model builds upon local community knowledge for public health nurses. An approach that is ethnographically informed to community and population assessment involves collection and analysis of data allowing socio-cultural contexts, systems and meaning. These assumptions are useful in the steps and processes of action research. Planning actions can be made by the community and the nurses through data collection.
Participatory action research emphasises the involvement and action of the community. This design was appropriate for this study since drug and substance abuse does not only affect the individuals involved but also the community as a whole. Participatory action research is based on reflection, data collection and action particularly on public health nursing. It also focuses on research whose purpose is to enable action. In this case, action was data collection and was done by displaying socio-economic information about teenagers in the community and the places that were associated with substance use and disuse. The data was collected through interviews and photovoice. GIS mapping was used by the public health