It soon became clear – insights into technology and participation

Travnicek, Cornelia; Stoll, Daniela; Reichinger, Andreas and Rix, Jonathan (2021). It soon became clear – insights into technology and participation. Qualitative Research Journal (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-03-2021-0035

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to explore the experience of working with different conceptualisations of participation and participatory practice. This is done through an examination of the involvement of a technology company within a multinational, 3-years participatory research project involving 13 partners and over 200 disabled people.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper provides a case study, narrative account of a range of activities undertaken within the project, presenting a rare and much-needed explicit insight into the emergence of participatory ways of working and the reasoning and tensions behind them.

Findings
Through the case study gaze of one of the technology companies involved, it explicates the underpinning processes of the participatory approach and how these challenged the notions of various partners.

Originality/value
This paper shows how engaging in meaningfully participatory research creates profound institutional challenges for technology developers. The subsequent need to make hard decisions and compromises throughout disrupts traditional ways of working and anticipated outcomes. However, it also reveals opportunities for delivering unanticipated and transformative outcomes, highlighting the need for greater flexibility in funding research that aims to be participatory.

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