Participant-Making: bridging the gulf between community knowledge and academic research
Too often in social research for design, academic knowledge is privileged at the expense of other knowledge and ways of knowing, although by overlooking insights from other participants this academic meaning-making may be wasteful and/or damaging to relations. In this paper, we describe a project that focuses on establishing academic/community relations to look at how knowledge issues are handled in setting up participative projects. We touch on the ethics of the ‘informed consent’ required for the ethics approval process and that of generating and sharing project outcomes in a way that reflects team membership, considering how to share credit, encourage diverse opinion and ensure some value in participating for all participants. Since a key outcome of the study is intended to be policy recommendations as to how to involve community groups in research projects, we take a highly reflexive approach. We reflect here on how we, as academic researchers, became participants and what we made available to our partners in research to do the same.
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