Research Track Case Studies

Case Studies in the Research Track are targeted towards (applied) researchers, practitioners, and professionals working in the field of communities and technologies. Papers submitted to this track should show the application, as well as the organizational, civic and/or commercial aspects, implications or practical challenges in any of the areas listed in the Call for Papers. Of special interest are real-world examples that illustrate experiences in running technological systems with/within existing communities; lessons learned in developing, testing, and deploying such systems; and critical views and reflections on differences between research and practice. Various kinds and flavors of case study research are welcome, including but not limited to: more analytical (such as ethnographic case studies and historical analyses of cases) as well as more action-oriented (such as design case studies, action research reports). A strong community, industry, and/or society background should be demonstrated, e.g., through authorship or in the text.

Important DatesMarch 12, 2021 (23:59 PST) Case studies due
April 9, 2021 Notification of acceptance for case studies
April 30, 2021 Camera-ready for papers (full and short) due
Submission DetailsOnline Submission: via EasyChair
Submission Template: ACM SigConf proceedings template (part of the ACM Master Template)
Submission Format: 4-6 pages (excluding references and appendices), as PDF
Supplementary Materials: pictures/visuals (beyond those included in the text), videos, documents/reports, websites, etc. Accepted research track case studies are part of the International Conference Proceedings Series (ICPS) published by ACM (ISBN: 978-1-4503-7162-9).
Selection Processpeer-reviewed

What is a Case Study (in the Research Track)?

Case Studies in the Research Track should describe how a problem was addressed by practical work carried out. They should describe the challenges experienced and how they were tackled, reflect on the experience, what could have been improved, and describe why the case study is of importance to the C&T community. Case Studies can also inspire C&T researchers to further investigate issues that arise from practical research and design work. Case Studies can illustrate, explore, report, analyze, summarize, challenge, or simply describe practical C&T work carried out to address a problem. They might focus, for instance, on the following topics:

  • Research of a specific domain, user group, organization, or experience, discussing its rationale, any issues, and lessons learned
  • Pilot studies preceding and informing larger-scale investigations
  • Application, critique, or evolution of a method, process, theory, or tool
  • Challenges to existing notions of research, design, theory, and practice
  • Revisiting definitions of C&T practice
  • Uses and misuses of technology by communities

Case Studies should be inspiring, but should not be constrained by traditional academic expectations. They differ from regular research papers in that Case Studies do not need to define themselves as part of the potentially longer-term body of academic research. They might not have as extensive a literature review as regular research papers, or might not explicitly add to C&T theory within an academic school of thought. The primary criteria for Case Studies is relevance in making a contribution to the community. Case Studies will be assessed on the extent to which they:

  • tell a convincing story of a real-world experience of technology-mediated community practice, that will be useful and instructive to other members of the C&T community,
  • report on very specific or singular communities or experiences,
  • have the potential for real impact on the C&T body of knowledge and practice,
  • clearly describe challenges and limitations to the reported experience or project,
  • focus on lessons learned and reflections on experiences.

Case Studies should include the following sections:

  • Abstract
  • ACM Classification
  • Author Keywords
  • Method: What we did (1 paragraph minimum)
  • Findings: What we learned (2-3 paragraphs minimum)
  • Discussion: What it means, how others might use the findings, implications for practice
  • Conclusion & What’s next
  • References (do not count towards page length)

Topic of Interest

Case Studies shed light into emerging and/or marginalized topics and address existing gaps in the broader C&T methods and understanding. In the light of the conference theme “Wicked Problems in the Age of Tech” suggested topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Wicked problem domains such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, racism, misogyny, policy brutality, the opioid crisis, immigration, human-trafficking, homelessness, authoritarianism, disinformation, poverty, public health, self-governance, and terrorism.
  • Diverse communities and their relationships to technology; urban and rural, migrants, refugees, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ, activists and social movements, low-income communities, alt-right and hate groups; the developing world and non-Western societies; professional communities, communities of practice, research communities;
  • Bottom-up movements, grassroots developments, civic activism, community engagement, participatory publics, communities and innovation; ethics, power and social justice issues;
  • Crowdfunding, collective and civic intelligence, community learning, early warning systems, collective awareness, collaborative awareness platforms; social cognition; community emotion; happiness; historical memory;
  • Community owned and operated technology, peer production and the commons, DIY and maker communities (makerspaces, fablabs, crafters); community agriculture;
  • Online and offline communities, urban and rural communities; urban technologies; urban informatics; urban interaction design; cross-community work; new forms of communities;
  • Community memory, archives, and knowledge; resilience; smart communities in the context of smart cities; sustainable communities; economic and social development;
  • Civic problem-solving, communities in relation to urgent and complex challenges to the health of the planet and the people that inhabit it; collaborative systems; partnering with education; government, civil society, and movements;
  • Sharing or collaborative economies; platform capitalism and platform cooperativism; social media and social capital; associations, strong and weak ties;
  • Supporting community processes: sensemaking, online deliberation; issue, argumentation and discussion mapping; community ideation and idea management systems; collective decision-making; group memory; participatory sensory networks;
  • Technological issues: community toolkits; federated systems; decentralization and blockchains; integration with other systems, integration with face-to-face systems;
  • The future of communities and technology; simulations, utopian or dystopian design; durable relationships and long-range goals; and
  • Developing and supporting the Communities & Technologies community; social and technological critique; effectiveness and other measures.

Example Case Studies

How to submit

Case Studies for the Research Track must be submitted via EasyChair. Research Track submissions must be reported using the ACM SigConf proceedings template (which is part of the ACM Master Template), should be 4-6 pages long (excluding references and appendices), and submitted as PDF. Submissions must be anonymized, removing information that could easily identify authors. Authors are encouraged (but not required) to include illustrative supplementary materials in the form of pictures/visuals (beyond those included in the text), videos, documents/reports, websites, etc. If supplementary materials are submitted beyond the main document, we kindly ask authors to include a list of the supplementary documents in their submission and a description of the nature and purpose of each item.

Selection process

Submissions to the Research Track will be peer-reviewed by two members of the Programme Committee, with an additional meta review form the Case Studies chairs for final decision on acceptance or rejection.

Upon acceptance

Accepted Case Studies from the Research Track will be published in the proceedings, together with full and short papers. Authors will have the opportunity to present and/or demonstrate their work during the conference.