Scaled, citizen-led, and public qualitative research: a framework for citizen social science

Amirah Amirrudin, Nicholas Harrigan, Ijlal Naqvi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a framework for citizen social science that brings together three reinforcing elements of a research project - scale, citizen-leadership, and publicness - to improve qualitative research. Our framework was born out of necessity; a desire to involve ordinary citizens, in researching public issues, with limited funding. We illustrate the application of our framework using insights from research we have led, involving first, a series of qualitative studies of state and civil society organizations working on community engagement by three separate years of public policy students; and second, a qualitative study on the system for processing salary and injury disputes for low-waged migrant workers in Singapore conducted by over 100 volunteers and activists. Drawing on a review of the literature and our own experiences, we speak to the advantages and trade-offs of adopting this approach and suggest practical methods for conducting citizen social science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1039
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number6
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • citizen social science
  • participatory research
  • problem-solving sociology
  • public sociology
  • qualitative methods


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