Virtual Vines: Using Participatory Methods to Connect Virtual Work with Community-Based Practice

Virtual Vines: Using Participatory Methods to Connect Virtual Work with Community-Based Practice

Marianne LeGreco (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA), Dawn Leonard (Urban Harvest Greensboro, USA) and Michelle Ferrier (Elon University, USA & LocallyGrownNews.com, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0963-1.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the somewhat unexpected relationship between participatory research methods, virtual work, and community-based practices. More specifically, the authors’ contribution outlines different conceptual foundations and methodological approaches related to participatory and community-based research. Embedded within this review, they address two key connections between participatory methods and virtual work. First, participatory and community-based methodologies provide a useful set of concepts and practices that can be applied in virtual contexts. Second, virtual work can facilitate participatory initiatives and achieve community-based goals. The chapter also offers two short case studies that illustrate how community-based groups often rely on virtual work to move their local initiatives forward.
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Community-Based Participatory Research

Before delving into the details of community-based research and virtual work, we find it necessary to situate this chapter in the methodological practices that have given rise to CBPR. As both organizations and individuals realize the need for more inclusive systems of democracy and participation, government agencies and researchers are exploring the possibilities of taking a community-based approach. The United Nations, for example, has considered ways to incorporate the perspectives of non-state actors and community members into their conversations about policy, information, and society (Cogburn, Johnsen, & Bhattacharyya, 2008). Additionally, agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have established funding opportunities that encourage community partnerships in the design and implementation of research projects. CBPR practices have gained a great deal of momentum across disciplines; therefore, it is necessary to mention the research traditions and methodologies that have fueled their development.

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