Cooperative Design, Cooperative Science: Investigating Collaborative Research through Design with Floracaching

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This dissertation presents a case study of collaborative research through design with Floracaching, a gamified mobile application for citizen science biodiversity data collection. One contribution of this study is the articulation of collaborative research through design (CRtD), an approach that blends cooperative design approaches with the research through design methodology (RtD). Collaborative research through design is thus defined as an iterative process of cooperative design, where the collaborative vision of an ideal state is embedded in a design. Applying collaborative research through design with Floracaching illustrates how a number of cooperative techniques—especially contextual inquiry, prototyping, and focus groups—may be applied in a research through design setting. Four suggestions for collaborative research through design (recruit from a range of relevant backgrounds; take flexibility as a goal; enable independence and agency; and, choose techniques that support agreement or consensus) are offered to help others who wish to experiment with this new approach. Applying collaborative research through design to Floracaching yielded a new prototype of the application, accompanied by design annotations in the form of framing constructs for designing to support mobile, place-based citizen science activities. The prototype and framing constructs, which may inform other designers of similar citizen science technologies, are a second contribution of this research.