1.5.2 Being a socio-cultural animator

The EAR researcher's role involves more than simply being attached to an initiative to carry out research. An EAR researcher may undertake a variety of roles within an initiative, and research responsibility may be shared between different members of staff. In any case, the researcher should be an integral part of an initiative's team, not an outsider only there to 'see how well they are doing'.

One way of describing the role of the researcher (or researchers) is through the term 'social-cultural animator'. The EAR researchers work as both researchers and animators to improve the effectiveness of the initiatives and increase participation.

As an animator an EAR researcher will seek to encourage and facilitate participation amongst the communities an initiative aims to serve. That is participation in the research and the activities of the initiative. S/he will seek to ensure that the goals and activities of the ICT initiative are known about in the community, and that the views and needs of the community are understood by the ICT initiative as it refines its goals and activities.