Watch again: Digital technologies in participatory research

The migration to digital participatory research methods has been dramatically accelerated by the pandemic as research methods have migrated online. The global pandemic has forced many of us to take seriously both the potentials and pitfalls of mobile, online, and digital tools in participatory research. Until 2020 participatory research literature has justifiably focused primarily on the face-to-face practices of participation.

This webinar focuses on the chapter taken from the newly published SAGE Handbook of Participatory Research and Inquiry and makes the case for a parallel focus on the digital technologies of participation which have been under analysed.


The session features three very different participatory digital research methods to explore the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile and internet tools in participatory research methods.

Chapter authors will present the examples of (a) massive online participatory research, (b) participatory radio research, and (c) feminist Wikipedia research. These very different examples dramatically illustrate how digital tools are enabling new inclusions and expanding the scale of participatory methods as well as introducing new exclusions and limitations.

We propose the concept of ‘affordances for participation’ as a lens to understand the particular ‘action possibilities’ enabled, allowed or invited by the use of a particular digital technology in a participatory research method. We argue that an appreciation of these distinct ‘affordances’ provides us with a useful means with which to analyse why different participants are afforded different levels of participation at different stages of the participatory research process.

This event is part of Participation Research Week which forms the launch of the new SAGE Handbook of Participatory Research and Inquiry.


Tony Roberts, Digital Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies and section editor.


Dr Maria Aristeidou, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University. Maria will be speaking on: Technologies for Citizen Inquiry: Participatory Research in Online Communities (Chapter 35 of the handbook).

Anna Collom, Doctoral Researcher The Open University. Anna will be speaking on Interactive Radio as a Participatory Digital Research Method (Chapter 36 of the handbook)

Japleen Pasricha, Founder-Director of Feminism India and Annette Fisher Independent Governance & Accountability Practitioner and Researcher. Japleen and Annette will be speaking on: Writing Women into Wikipedia (Chapter 37 of the handbook).