Ethnographic Action Research and ICTs for Development: Considering the Communicative Ecology
This paper describes and discusses the Ethnographic Action Research methodology and the importance of a participatory approach to both research and project development that takes into account the wider communicative ecologies in each setting.
Each community is complex, and each media initiative, event and relationship will change and shift the power relations at both individual and community level. The concept of the communicative ecology, and Ethnographic Action Research as a research and project development methodology, takes this into account working to build capacity and research cultures in each communication initiative so that they can adapt and respond to changing environments, changing needs and opportunities as they present themselves.
Developed in collaboration with UNESCO, and applied in South Asia, the methodology is now being used in Mali (West Africa). Much has been learned over the past three years about how to apply the methodology, what works and what does not. As the methodology is taken up by more and more communication initiatives across the world it is important to take stock and assess the main features of Ethnographic Action Research for both existing and future applications.
Keywords: ICTs and Development, Ethnography, Action Research, Local Capacity Building, Community-Based Media, Communicative Ecology
Dr Jo Tacchi
Senior Research Fellow, Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre, Queensland University of Technology