From Exploration to Design: Aligning Intentionality in Community Informatics Projects

Ammar Halabi, Amalia Sabiescu, Salomão David, Sara Vannini, David Nemer


This article focuses on a particular aspect of research and design processes in community-based projects: the transition from exploratory stages, concerned with knowledge production, to design stages, in which goals for action-taking are formulated and desired directions for change are envisioned. This paper offers a reflection about the methodological processes that underpin this transition, in response to the questions: How are design goals formulated in community informatics interventions that rely on data-intensive exploratory methodologies, and what factors and dynamics shape them? Guided by these questions, we shed light on various issues related to this transition by recounting and analysing cases taken from field experiences within three different community projects in Syria, Brazil and Mozambique. The article proposes that the transition is associated with shifts in intentionality, which are elusive and hard to grasp, particularly in participatory approaches. Three analytical categories are put forward to illuminate the dynamics of intentionality shifts along the continuum of transitioning from exploration to design. Reflections based on the empirical cases are contributed.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441