Getting ourselves together: Data-centered participatory design research & epistemic burden

Jennifer Pierre, Roderic Crooks, Morgan E. Currie, Britt S. Paris, Irene V. Pasquetto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Data-centered participatory design research projects—wherein researchers collaborate with community members for the purpose of gathering, generating, or communicating data about the community or their causes—can place epistemic burdens on minoritized or racialized groups, even in projects focused on social justice outcomes. Analysis of epistemic burden encourages researchers to rethink the purpose and value of data in community organizing and activism more generally. This paper describes three varieties of epistemic burden drawn from two case studies based on the authors’ previous work with anti-police brutality community organizations. The authors conclude with a discussion of ways to alleviate and avoid these issues through a series of questions about participatory research design. Ultimately, we call for a reorientation of knowledge production away from putative design solutions to community problems and toward a more robust interrogation of the power dynamics of research itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI'21
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450380966
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021
EventCHI 2021: The ACM CHI Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems -
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021


ConferenceCHI 2021
Abbreviated titleCHI 2021
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • critical
  • activism
  • ethics
  • participatory design


Dive into the research topics of 'Getting ourselves together: Data-centered participatory design research & epistemic burden'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this