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CAVEAT Exemplar: Participatory Design in a Non-Profit Volunteer Organisation

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This paper reports a university course-based case study undertaken with a volunteer organisation. Our goals were to explore the use of participatory design in a non-profit volunteer setting; to reflect on the experience of learning and applying participatory methodologies; and to create a prototype, using off-the-shelf database software, that could become a sustainable organisational information system. We found system design methodologies that stress cooperation and consensus especially appropriate when working with volunteers, who expect control over their work in exchange for their time and effort. The Future Workshop was particularly valuable in developing group insight into work and consensus around system priorities. The study resulted in a prototype which has evolved, through in-house refinement, into a working system.


McPhail, Brenda; Costantino, Terry; Bruckmann, David; Barclay, Ross; Clement, Andrew (1998): CAVEAT Exemplar: Participatory Design in a Non-Profit Volunteer Organisation. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 7. DOI: 10.1023/A:1008631020266. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 223-241