A couple of days ago I delivered a workshop with Martin Weller on the topic of “Guerrilla Research”.
The session was run under the #elesig banner, and was the result of an invitation to work through the germ of an idea that was a blog post Martin had published in October 2013, The Art Of Guerrilla Research.
In that post, Martin had posted a short list of what he saw as “guerrilla research” characteristics:
- It can be done by one or two researchers and does not require a team
- It relies on existing open data, information and tools
- It is fairly quick to realise
- It is often disseminated via blogs and social media
Looking at these principles now, as in, right now, as a I type (I don’t know what I’m going to write…), I don’t necessarily see any of these as defining, at least, not without clarification. Let’s reflect, and see how my fingers transcribe my inner voice…
In the first case, a source crowd or network may play a role in the activity, so maybe it’s the initiation of the activity that only requires one or two people?
Open data, information and tools helps, but I’d gear this more towards pre-existing data, information and tools, rather than necessarily open: if you work inside an organisation, you may be able to appropriate resources that are not open or available outside the organisation, and may even have limited access within the organisation; you may have to “steal” access to them, even; open resources do mean that other people can engage in the same activity using the same resources, though, which provides transparency and reproducibility; open resources also make inside, outside activities possible.
The activity may be quick to realise, sort of: I can quickly set a scraper going to collect data about X, and the analysis of the data may be quick to realise; but I may need the scraper to run for days, or weeks, or months; more qualifying, I think, is that the activity only requires a relatively short number of relatively quick bursts of activity.
Online means of dissemination are natural, because they’re “free”, immediate, have potentially wide reach; but I think an email to someone who can, or a letter to the local press, or an activity that is it’s own publication, such as a submission to a consultation in which the responses are all published, could also count too.
PS WordPress just “related” this back to me, from June, 2009: Guerrilla Education: Teaching and Learning at the Speed of News