More than participatory? From ‘compensatory’ towards ‘expressive’ remote practices using digital technologies

Susanne Börner*, Peter Kraftl, Leandro L. Giatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Based on the shift from face-to-face participatory action research (PAR) with groups in situations of vulnerability to digital methods during COVID-19, we reflect on how we can go beyond compensating for the physical absence of the researcher from the field. We argue that instead of simply aiming to replace face-to-face research with a digital equivalent for maintaining ‘participatory’ and ‘inclusive’ research practices, remote practices have the potential of being more-than compensatory. We suggest that when producing multi-method digital approaches, we need to go beyond a concern with participant access to remote practices. By rethinking remote PAR in the light of expressive rather than participatory research practices, we critically reflect on the (sometimes experimental) process of trying out different digital research method(s) with Brazilian youth in situations of digital marginalisation, including the initial ‘failures’ and lessons learned in encouraging diverse forms of participant expression, and ownership using WhatsApp.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 833401 (NEXUS-DRR). Moreover, funding has been provided by FAPESP (process number 2015/03804-9 and 2021/07399-2) as well as by CNPq (process number 314947/2021-3).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • COVID-19
  • digital geographies
  • digital methodologies
  • knowledge co-production
  • marginalised groups
  • participant expression
  • Participatory action research
  • WhatsApp
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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