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Sustained citizen science from research to solutions: a new impact model for the social sciences

Mintchev, Nikolay, Daher, Mariam, Jallad, Mayssa, Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, Moore, Henrietta L., Ghamrawi, Ghadir, Al Harrache, Assia, Majed, Amanie and Younes, Yara (2022) Sustained citizen science from research to solutions: a new impact model for the social sciences. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 21. ISSN 1609-4069

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Identification Number: 10.1177/16094069221133232


Participatory research offers a valuable opportunity for collaboration between universities and citizens. It allows people with diverse educational and professional trajectories outside of academia to become partners in the research process, leading to multiple positive outcomes such as enhanced capacity building, contextually sensitive research design, and effective dissemination of findings. The chain of activities in the standard version of participatory research, however, stops short of developing solutions for improved quality of life, without making clear how enhanced capacities or locally embedded research findings will translate into tangible change for the communities where the research takes place. This shortcoming, we claim, is linked to the relatively short-term nature of most participatory research, as well as the scarcity of institutional structures and funding schemes to support the development of community-led solutions in the long run. The present article demonstrates that another model of research is both possible and desirable. It does this by presenting the outcomes of a sustained, long-term collaboration between university researchers and citizen social scientists in Beirut, Lebanon. The sustained nature of this work – running for over 3 years at the time of writing – has enabled our team to roll out a substantial programme of qualitative and quantitative data collection on prosperity and quality of life, and to subsequently use the findings and experience gained to create a set of interventions that address pressing challenges. We specifically argue that sustained, open-ended work on multiple activities – from research design and data collection, to data analysis, design of interventions and more – leads to accumulation of skills and experiences within the team, which can then be channelled towards implementing high quality interventions. This new model of impact for social science research prioritises partnership between universities and citizens, while highlighting the potential of such partnership to lead to solutions that make a real difference.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 16:09
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2024 05:03

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