"Rivière à l'œil" : A Reflective Analysis on a Participatory Science Initiative

This project seeks (a) to set up a participatory data collection system for documenting river water levels in Quebec, and (b) to conduct a reflective analysis of this system, as part of the INFO-Crue project headed by the Ouranos Consortium.

Non-professional public participation in the production of scientific knowledge, while long-standing, is experiencing a recent renewal owing to the participatory possibilities that digital technologies offer. They facilitate the involvement of individuals with diverse profiles and enable data collection using connected devices. Two scenarios based on different levels of citizen involvement are studied: 1) limited participation in data collection and 2) extensive participation in all phases of the project, from problem definition to data collection and thinking about the devices used. How do citizens appropriate the issues related to the documentation of water levels and floods? What social and technical parameters enable them to understand the available devices and become involved in their implementation? To what extent does participation in the project make them feel like actors in the study and monitoring of rivers in Quebec? The project highlights citizen involvement in the co-construction process by adopting a reflexive approach based on participant observation and interviews with all key actors (watershed and ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte aux changements climatiques professionals, citizens). Rooted in science, technology, and society (STS) studies, the project contributes to studying the issues raised by participatory sciences on the development of knowledge, expertise, and the relationship between science and society.

Florence Millerand heads the project (OURANOS and CIRST 2021–2022 funding), co-led by Lorna Heaton and Laure Turcati as a postdoctoral fellow. The steering committee also includes partner representatives.

Partners: Ouranos, ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte aux changements climatiques (MELCC), Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants (ROBVQ), Organisme de concertation pour l’eau des bassins versants de la rivière Nicolet (COPERNIC), Organisme de bassin versant Charlevoix Montmorency (OBV-CM), Université Laval.

This content has been updated on 19 December 2023 at 15 h 32 min.