Learning through Situated Innovation: Why the specific is crucial for Participatory Design Research

Yvonne Dittrich, Sara Eriksén, Bridgette Wessels

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Specific, situated participatory design (PD) practices have always been at the heart
of Participatory Design research. The role of the very situatedness and specificity of PD practice for theory-building within PD research is, however, seldom discussed explicitly. In this article, we explore why and in which ways the specificity and situatedness of PD practices are crucial for PD research. We do so by developing the notion of PD as situated innovation based on a pragmatic epistemology. PD research aims at devel oping and continuously unfolding what PD can, might and should be. We show implications of such a pragmatic epistemology of PD on understanding and arguing for PD research approaches. These concepts are illustrated referring to PD practices as experienced in PD research projects. Our epistemological argumentation supports the emphasis on exploring new PD practices and learning and theorizing about PD from the specificities, in line with recent debate contributions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Information Systems
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)29-56
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014

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