February 11, 2017, by Stuart Moran

Digital Engagement: An Introductory Blog Series

As a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher, talking with colleagues from other fields about digital engagement and impact always used to surprise me. For many, it was something that was only ever possible or relevant toward the end of a research project, while for others it was not always seen as beneficial (and perhaps something of a chore).

For me, engagement has always been directly embedded in my research. Typically I would collaborate with my target audience who would inform, influence and challenge the research as it unfolded. In fact they would help recruit participants, provide data and ideas, disseminate the research outcomes and even demonstrate its impact. All of this was made possible because my target audience also happens to be my research participants.

Now I know that this is not an option for most researchers, and so I began to think about how others might look to make digital engagement part of their actual research, rather than simply a post-project activity.

Looking back at my own and colleagues research, I identified four interesting approaches to incorporating engagement into research:

  1. Crowd Sourcing
    1. The Crowd as Sensors
    2. The Crowd and Their Data
    3. The Crowd’s Resources
    4. The Crowd and their Knowledge 
  2. Future Envisionment
    1. Envisioning the Future 
  3. Digital Toolkits
  4. Serious Games

This is the first in a 12 part blog post series that will explore these four approaches by providing real examples of their application across multiple domains. The goal is to inspire and challenge you to think how you could make digital engagement an integral and seamless part of your research.

Stuart Moran, Digital Research Specialist for Social Sciences

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