Anne HARDY, University of Tasmania, Australia
Tamara YOUNG, University of Newcastle, Australia
Regina SCHEYVENS, Massey University, New Zealand
Kristy DE SALAS, University of Tasmania, Australia
Joseph CHEER, Wakayama University, Japan
Apisalome MOVOVO, Massey University, New Zealand
COVID-19 has created profound shifts in how tourism is viewed by residents in tourism-reliant destinations. As countries around the world attempt to live with the virus, there is an urgent need to understand how residents in tourism-dependent communities view and respond to this new era of tourism and its impacts. However, it has been argued that methodological innovation is impeding this research imperative and researchers must rethink the ways in which data is collected, conceptualised and shared. Calls have been made for tourism research to be humanised (Cheer, 2020) and socialised (Higgins-Desboilles, 2020). Our research argues for multidisciplinary and innovative research that place residents and their lived experiences at the forefront of research practice.
Accordingly, we offer citizen social science (CSS), activated through digital technologies, as an alternative framework that empowers residents to be more intimately involved in the co-design of research planning and knowledge creation. CSS is a derivative of citizen science, a method widely used in the natural sciences for collaboration between researchers and non-researchers. When applied to tourism, CSS can focus on social sustainability. Residents become ‘default fieldworkers’ by co-creating research design, gathering data at places they feel personally connected to at a time of their own convenience via digital technologies, and assist with data interpretation.
CSS research empowers citizens to observe their own lives and record their lived experiences through real-time digital technologies. When implemented ethically it democratises research and reduces the risk of ‘othering’ participants. We will outline phases for the application of digitally-activated CSS, and argue for its application to gauge how tourism-dependent communities are faring. We position CSS as a response to the critical turn in resident research that offers practical and genuine collaborations with destination communities.
Keywords: citizen social science|tourism destinations|resilience|residents |attitudes