city of Växjö

Participatory Research: The Ethics of Designing for Social Engagement

This workshop will bring together scholars with a range of research experiences to explore the ethical issues of doing participatory research and designing projects for social engagement.

There has been a growing imperative to incorporate participatory elements such as co-design, co-research and co-analysis into research project design in response to a number of theoretical, political, and practical drivers. Key to these influences has been the desire to empower and be more inclusive of research subjects, shifting the power dynamic from object of research to subject and shaper of research. A more recent imperative has been the impact of a growing funding body and institutional push for university scholars to demonstrate that impact and engagement outcomes are being achieved through their research. Government funding bodies are, for example, expecting to see project design include economic, social and other benefits and to encourage greater collaboration between universities, industries and other end-users of research. Participatory methodologies are one of the most recognised ways in which social researchers can deliver and demonstrate social engagement outcomes. Participatory research does, however, come with specific and sometimes unique ethical dilemmas that researchers must grapple with across the life of their research project.

This workshop will bring together scholars with a range of research experiences to explore the ethical issues of doing participatory research and designing projects for social engagement. Speakers will bring their own critical perspective to the discussion and use concrete examples from their participatory research experiences. Attendees will explore two key questions on power, ethics and integrity in research:

  1. The ethics of consent, engagement and participation (e.g. How can researchers ensure informed consent? What needs to happen to limit coercive decision making? How can project design impact on who participates and how? Is the power of the researcher always mediated through participatory research? How should we work with the gatekeepers? When does one stakeholders view and/or need outweigh another's? What is the role of scholarly independence in our research? Are incentives always unethical bribery?).
  2. The ethics of care (e.g. In whose interest do we adopt participatory research methods? How do we negotiate and mediate the harm engagement in research can cause to participants? To be identified or not identified - whose decision it is anyway? How do we care for participants who suffer from their engagement but want to stay involved? How can projects in vulnerable environments provide strength and support? Where are the limits to what researchers can do and should do to show care in their research?)

Speakers

Kathryn Seymour, Adjunct Research Fellow Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith university and Senior Researcher yourtown, Brisbane Australia.

Kathryn will give a longer introduction to the themes based on her work with young people and volunteer and paid youth workers as researchers, subjects and writers.

Then a roundtable with follow with the following speakers from Linnaeus University:

Kristina Gustafsson, Department of social work
Torun Elsrud, Department of social work
Henrik Nilsson, Department of Educational Science
Åsa Trulsson, Department of Cultural Sciences

Anyone with experience or interests in these issues are cordially invited to participate!

Lammhult, Building F Växjö, Bruunska 8, Kalmar Åsa Trulsson Add to your calendar