Divergence of values and goals in participatory research

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Public participation in scientific research has gained prominence in many scientific fields, but the theory of participatory research is still limited. In this paper, we suggest that the divergence of values and goals between academic researchers and public participants in research is key to analyzing the different forms this research takes. We examine two existing characterizations of participatory research: one in terms of public participants' role in the research, the other in terms of the virtues of the research. In our view, each of these captures an important feature of participatory research but is, on its own, limited in what features it takes into account. We introduce an expanded conception of norms of collaboration that extends to both academic researchers and public participants. We suggest that satisfying these norms requires consideration of the two groups' possibly divergent values and goals, and that a broad characterization of participatory research that starts from participants' values and goals can motivate both public participants’ role in the research and the virtues of the research. The resulting framework clarifies the similarities and differences among participatory projects and can help guide the responsible design of such projects.
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Archival date: 2021-07-21
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