department of informatics

From learning to designing action: Uncovering obscure processes in participatory community-based research

TitleFrom learning to designing action: Uncovering obscure processes in participatory community-based research
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHalabi, A., A. G. Sabiescu, D. Salomão, S. Vannini, and D. Nemer
Conference NameCIRN 2014 Community Informatics Conference: Challenges and Solutions
Conference LocationPrato, Italy
Keywordscommunity-based participatory research, design thinking, designing action

Participatory design and research frameworks in community informatics seek to condense experiences taken from accumulating practice in field work to describe and theorize processes for data generation, analysis, and stakeholder involvement in the design of programmes, activities or technology. This paper focuses on a particular aspect of participatory research and design processes in community-based projects: the transition from an analytical stage, characterised by observation, reflection and knowledge construction, towards designing action. Despite the wealth of conceptual and methodological literature on participatory research and design with communities, we gathered upon noticing that the topic of transitioning from exploration to designing action in community-based participatory research is relatively obscure, and merits more reflection and discussion. The paper offers a view into the processes that underpin this transition, in response to the questions: How is community-generated knowledge infused in design? What are the processes that unfold during this transition, and what roles do various stakeholders play? What are the key enabling factors and what challenges are associated with these processes? Guided by these questions, we shed light on various issues related to this transition by recounting cases taken from field experiences within different community projects in Syria, Brazil and Mozambique. By reflecting on these cases, we highlight how designed actions came into being, the roles of various stakeholders in making design choices, how constructed knowledge informed those actions, and the compromises that had to be balanced.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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