Methodologically sound? Participatory research at a community radio station

Catherine Wilkinson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter is based on a research project which used the case study of KCC Live, a volunteer youth-led community radio station situated in Knowsley, neighbouring Liverpool, UK. The station typically has a 14-25 year old volunteer base, although at the time of conducting this research all volunteers were over the age of 16, and there were a number of volunteers over the age of 25. I conducted this research using a mixed methods approach, employed through a participatory design. I have drawn on a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, namely: 18 months of observant participation at KCC Live; interviews with management at KCC Live and Knowsley Community College; interviews and focus groups with volunteers; a listener survey; listener diaries; and follow-up interviews with listeners. I chose the above methods as they enabled engagement with the broad range of communities involved in KCC Live, including the listening audience, as well as the volunteer body and staff. In addition, these methods were well suited to the ethnographic nature of the research, allowing for in-depth exploration of the research topic. In this chapter, I reflexively detail how the methods evolved within the field, owing to the participatory design of the project. I problematise the alleged emancipatory potential of participatory research and, in detailing the co-production of audio artefacts in this project, I argue that the meaning of ‘participatory’ in participatory research should be determined in communication with study participants. Only then can research be considered truly participatory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Impact of Co-Production: From Community Engagement to Social Justice
    EditorsAksel Ersoy
    Place of PublicationUniversity of Bristol
    PublisherPolicy Press
    ISBN (Print)978-1447330295
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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