Research as participatory process: participative and reflective methods

Virtual Seminar, 9 November 2020, 11-12

Please click on the titles in the table below to access the recorded presentations. 

Presentation Abstracts 

Collaborating with Young People in Cyberbullying Research: The Implementation and Evaluation of a Rights-Based Approach

Rebecca Dennehy (School of Public Health), Dr. Sarah Meaney (National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre), Mary Cronin (School of Public Health) & Professor Ella Arensman (National Suicide Research Foundation), UCC


This paper will demonstrate the use of creative methodologies with secondary schools students in the conduct of a study to explore young people’s conceptualisations of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a multifaceted public health issue among young people. Adults do not have first-hand experience of cyberbullying in their youth, therefore, intervention development can benefit from youth engagement. Using a rights-based approach and participatory methods a Young Person’s Advisory Group was established comprising 16 students from four secondary schools. Students met with researchers on five occasions at a local youth service. Sessions focused on the design, conduct and interpretation of a qualitative study of young people’s experiences of cyberbullying and on the identification of intervention priorities. An evaluation of the collaboration process was conducted. 

Evaluation findings indicate that Advisory Group members were supported to form as well as express their views and that these views were acted upon by adult researchers. Their involvement helped to ensure that the research was relevant and reflective of the experiences, interests, values and norms of young people. Young people can contribute a unique perspective to the research process that is otherwise not accessible to adult researchers. The approach described in this study is a feasible and effective way of operationalising young people's involvement in health research and could be adapted to explore other topics of relevance to young people.

Developing a Guided Reflection (GR) Tool in a Gender Equality Change Management Project: A Researcher's Own Experience

Dr Monica O’Mullane, MSCA Fellow, ISS21, UCC


This paper explores a guided reflection (GR) tool developed and used in a gender equality change management project, under the EC funded GENOVATE project. The project involved seven partners from across Europe, each partner implementing a change management programme in their university setting. A guided reflection framework, which included verbal reflective discussions and written reflections, was developed and implemented to facilitate the collection of narratives and stories on the experience of gender transformation within the university institutions. The tool sought to capture the change processes ongoing within and across the institutions, and was informed by and developed, and owned, in an engaged way by all partners. The resulting outcome was a successful application of the GR framework, with findings indicating that participants found the opportunity to share and reflect useful.

The author of this paper was one of the project participants who was tasked with iteratively developing the tool as well as implementing its use, specifically by conducting and analysing the verbal reflective discussions. As a researcher engaged in the development and use of the tool, the author will share their own experience and practice in developing such a tool within a pan-European consortium of partners in a meaningfully engaged and iterative manner. GENOVATE received funding from the EU Seventh Framework under the Science in Society programme, grant agreement number 321378.

Using Rap as a Creative Method in Research with Children and Young People 

Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan, Professor Cathal O’Connell (School of Applied Social Studies, UCC) and Dr Lorcan Byrne (Department of Applied Social Sciences, LIT)


This paper explores how rap music workshops can be an effective method when researching neighbourhood regeneration with children and young people, especially in disadvantaged communities. The paper draws on research with 78 children and young people in a large social housing estate which is undergoing regeneration and refurbishment in Cork City in the South of Ireland, with a focus on a sub-group of six teenagers who participated in a rap workshop. The research demonstrates that rap music workshops are an insightful data collection method, particularly in contexts where rap music is already an embedded part of the local youth culture. This research also reveals how children and young people have the imaginative capacity to make an informed analysis of their communities and that they hold a strong desire to influence the decision-making process. This paper will be of interest to researchers concerned with creative methodologies designed to elicit and understand children’s and young people’s experiences and perspectives.

Presentation slides available at: Rap as a Creative Method


Use of Design Theory in Creating Research Methods to Ensure Inclusive Engagement with Participants

Katie Power (Law) & Dr Briony Supple (CIRTL), UCC.


This paper focusses on qualitative research undertaken at CIT, UCC and University College London (UCL) which seeks to evidence the user experience of learning spaces in new builds and refurbishments in three Universities situated in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The data was collected in order to gauge the following: How do students and staff feel about and connect with these spaces on a day to day basis and how can university leaders nurture these connections in a healthy and meaningful way?  Qualitative research depends on harnessing the human voice in an inclusive way and therefore a mixture of three key research methods were used in a pop up data collection session – observation with use of a rubric, think aloud, and creative visual tools using an interactive sticker choice activity.  These methods allow authentic questioning of users in the context of the spaces themselves, key in assessing textual data, per Carter and Little (2007).  Following on from the granting of ethical approval from UCC Social Research Ethics Committee a pop up stand was set up to attract participants to share their views on learning spaces on different occasions at the three university institutions to allow the beginning of the 4 stages of the design thinking process – Clarify, Ideate, Develop, Implement (Goligorsky, 2012). 


Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30