Participatory research approaches in mining-impacted hydrosocial systems

Kathleen Torso, Courtney Marie Cooper, Andy Helkey, Chris Meyer, Anne L. Kern, Chloe Bradley Wardropper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As demonstrated by Indigenous and rural scholars, participatory research approaches can facilitate capacity building, promote data accessibility, and accomplish community goals within complex hydrosocial systems. To demonstrate challenges and opportunities for participatory research, we describe hydrosocial territories in a mining-impact region in northern Idaho. We then compare two community-university partnerships in the study region, which included Tribal and non-Tribal rural communities. We find that the Participatory Action Research and Indigenous Research Methodologies frameworks provide a robust set of practices and methods for conducting more equitable and inclusive research. Further, participatory research approaches in research involving mining-impacted hydrosocial systems should: (1) build from established programs, goals, and practices; (2) identify respectful levels of partnership engagement, and (3) recognize partnership limitations. Future inquiry in complex hydrosocial systems should continue to build from the existing collection of participatory scholarship to address power imbalances and cultural differences and implement non-intrusive approaches to evaluate outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2337-2349
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 25 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • hydrosocial territories
  • Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • mining-impacted regions
  • Participatory Action Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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