Ethnographic Action Research and ICTs for Development: Considering the Communicative Ecology

Dr Jo Tacchi
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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
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Jo Tacchi

Senior Research Fellow, Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre, Queensland University of Technology

Jo has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and University of Cardiff and a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Jo was an organizer of the first Radiocracy: Radio, Democracy and Development conference in Cardiff in 1999 and a member of the Steering Group of the Radio Studies Network during its early years. She has specialized in research on radio and new media technologies and currently works on a range of media research and development projects in Australia and the Asia and Pacific region. She has been working closely with UNESCO for the past three years to develop and test the Ethnographic Action Research methodology. Jo is currently the Project Leader of the Youth Internet Radio Network in Queensland ( - launching late May 2005). She is a Lead Researcher on a Department for International Development (UK Government) funded 4 country comparative study of emerging technologies and development communities in the South. Jo is working collaboratively with UNESCO and UNDP in South Asia and Indonesia to develop a project to explore notions of 'voice' through local content creation using old and new media technologies.

Ref: T06P0017