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Participatory Research: Case Study of a Community Event

  • Rebecca Finkel
  • Kate Sang
Chapter
Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)

Abstract

This chapter sets out the main methodological approaches for participatory research in an events context, including various methods which can be employed. Participatory research often involves multiple instruments and techniques and is often utilised in conjunction with mixed methods, such as interviews, focus groups, and/or surveys. One of the key elements of participatory research is the equitable partnership approaches to planning and conducting the research in conjunction with community members and/or community-based organisations (Bergold, Participatory strategies in community psychology research: A short survey. In A. Bokszczanin (Ed.), Poland welcomes community psychology: Proceedings from the 6th European Conference on Community Psychology (pp. 57–66). Opole: Opole University Press, 2007). Participatory research views research participants as experts in the field of study and, as such, involves them in the knowledge-production process; thus, research projects are co-designed from inception through to completion (Gyi, Sang, & Haslam, Ergonomics, 56(1), 45–58, 2013). This can be applied to events studies by examining the culture of the event through observation, participation, stakeholder meetings, collective reflection and analysis, and other sensory and visual techniques. The ‘group’ and ‘culture’ being examined are the events audiences and environments. Although events are temporary in nature, anthropological and sociological frameworks can still apply. This has been successfully done in a few events studies through the years (see Finkel, Unicycling at Land’s End: Case study of the Lafrowda Festival of St Just, Cornwall. In J. Ali-Knight & D. Chambers (Eds.), Case studies in festival and event marketing and cultural tourism. Leisure Studies Association Journal, 2(92), 129–145, 2006; Goldblatt, Events and management. In R. Finkel, D. McGillivray, G. McPherson, & P. Robinson (Eds.), Research themes for events (pp. 78–89). Oxford: CABI, 2013) and can be considered a viable and useful methodological approach for events researchers and students to employ for impactful and relevant research. A case study is set out based on participatory research conducted at a community event located near Edinburgh, Scotland. The research is based on stakeholder meetings, survey questionnaires, collection of visual data including photos and videos of the event environment and visitors’ experiences, and the researchers’ personal observations and interactions. This can be considered an apt and accessible example for demonstrating this kind of methodology, as community events highlight the societal, economic, and cultural dimensions and discourses of events studies. It also democratises the research process; research is conducted with participants, rather than on a community.

Keywords

Participatory Research Community Organisation Community Psychology Stakeholder Meeting Participatory Research Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Finkel
    • 1
  • Kate Sang
    • 1
  1. 1.UK

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