The Broadening of Citizen Participation in Bottom-Up Technological Innovation
Research Questions:
How, if at all, do independent game developers and creative live streamers perceive, understand, and interpret their technological practices as democratized? 
What mechanisms, strategies, and techniques do they use to support such practices? 
What requirements and designs for new sociotechnical systems could be identified to better support democratized technological practices for end-user driven technological innovation?
This research will contribute actionable insights concerning two key issues about democratizing technology: technological practices remain exclusive in terms of privileged users, and participation in decision-making is unequal. It will do so by exploring two emerging, creativity-centric technology communities as case studies - activist and non-profit oriented independent game developers and creative live audio and video streamers. Its focus on democratizing technology will help computing technologies and technological practices become more inclusive, affordable, accessible, and open to everyday citizens. Its emphasis on mechanisms, strategies, and techniques that broaden the possibility of citizen participation in technological innovation increases the opportunities for and retention of females and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering education. These findings and the developed prototype resulting from this work can be used to inform and address the needs of other computing communities seeking to be more open, accessible, and participative. This research also promotes public engagement with science and technology on two levels: by generating interest in the science and technology research community to pursue research that supports bottom-up technological innovation, and by directly engaging many of those innovators in this scientific project.

This project entails an empirical and conceptual advance in computer-supported cooperative work and human-computer interaction research on bottom-up innovation and participatory culture by using new research contexts and datasets, which have implications beyond the gaming and live streaming communities. It not only discloses how a technological practice can be perceived and interpreted as democratized by everyday citizens, but also elucidates why a community embodies such an interpretation.
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