Participatory evaluation practices in citizen social science: Insights from three case studies.

Barbara Kieslinger, Stefanie Schürz, Katja Mayer, Teresa Schaefer

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


In citizen social science, citizens actively engage in research to investigate and solve challenges from their lifeworlds. As these interests are guiding the research process, we suggest employing a co-evaluation approach as a form of participatory evaluation that initiates the conversation on expectations and impact with the diverse actors involved from the onset. In the European funded research project CoAct, global social concerns such as youth employment, mental healthcare and environmental justice are addressed by three local research teams consisting of affected citizen groups, thematic and political stakeholders, and multidisciplinary academic researchers. The teams investigate and implement concrete actions and strategies to tackle these social challenges. In this contribution we reflect on first insights of co-evaluation from the three cases by applying a qualitative content analysis across different content formats, focusing primarily on the specific challenges and outcomes of citizen social science and co-evaluation. While the nature of the social issues at stake and the distinct socio-cultural contexts in which they are embedded clearly mark the boundaries of comparability, overall, a shift in roles and ownership across involved actors is observable. Identifiable intermediate outcomes are e.g. an increase in awareness, knowledge, and skills amongst stakeholders, which are in the long-term expected to increase empowerment, self-determination and the quality of life of the concerned participants, and lead to the implementation of new measures and regulations at policy level. With this work we want to contribute to the canonical development of citizen social science and generate productive feedback for the research process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalPlattform Forschungs- und Technologieevaluierung
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 509017 Social studies of science
  • 508016 Science communication
  • 506017 Science and technology policy


  • citizen science
  • evaluation
  • participation

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