The Public Engagement Observatory has three overlapping areas of activity and research.

Mapping

The Observatory is developing and applying three kinds of method for mapping diverse forms of public participation and engagement across wider systems and debates on an ongoing basis. 

  • Comparative case analysis: building on the comparative case analysis method from our previous UKERC research, which involves documentary analysis of diverse cases of participation with energy and climate change identified through academic databases and web-searches to map how people are engaging, who is involved, and what they are engaging in.
  • Crowdsourcing: where stakeholders and citizens are involved in mapping public engagement with energy and climate change from their own perspectives. This ranges from open elicitation calls for evidence through to citizen social science where public participants map how they and others are engaging in particular settings.  
  • Digital methods: developing and applying methods for repurposing online devices and platforms (such as Google and Twitter) to map the dynamics of actor engagements, issues and debates emerging around energy and climate-related transitions, as well as understanding these digital media as sites for participation. 

These mappings go beyond mainstream discrete one-off approaches to public engagement to offer more comprehensive and ongoing insights into how diverse forms of participation, publics and their views and actions are emerging and interacting across wider systems and debates around energy and climate change.

The Observatory’s mappings are regularly updated and openly shared via its open access dataset, reports, briefings, blog posts and other publications, through its network, and in demonstration experiments.  

Network

Through its network the Observatory is connecting UK and international actors interested in public participation and citizen engagement with energy and climate change from different disciplines, approaches and sectors. It serves as a platform for learning and reflection about publics, participation and energy-climate related issues. This is facilitated through a series of events, webinars, workshops and shared online resources.

Experiments

In addition to being visualised and openly shared through this website, briefings and an interactive online dataset, the Observatory‚Äôs mappings are also being put into practice in collective experiments with partner organisations in government, business and civil society. Here the Observatory is actively exploring how novel approaches to mapping public engagement, and the additional insights they produce, can contribute to energy and climate-related decisions, innovations and new forms participation.