Tourism Recreation Research Co-creating knowledge in tourism research using the Ketso method

Tourism scholars have called for critical engagement with transformational co-creative methodologies. Within this call, there is a need for researchers to be positioned as facilitators and co-creators; rather than lone experts. We provide a critical
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  Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Tourism Recreation Research ISSN: 0250-8281 (Print) 2320-0308 (Online) Journal homepage: Co-creating knowledge in tourism research usingthe Ketso method Yana Wengel, Alison McIntosh & Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten To cite this article:  Yana Wengel, Alison McIntosh & Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten (2019) Co-creatingknowledge in tourism research using the Ketso method, Tourism Recreation Research, 44:3,311-322, DOI: 10.1080/02508281.2019.1575620 To link to this article: Published online: 08 Feb 2019.Submit your article to this journal Article views: 170View related articles View Crossmark data  Co-creating knowledge in tourism research using the Ketso method Yana Wengel  a , Alison McIntosh  b and Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten  c a Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom;  b School of Hospitality and Tourism, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand;  c Waikato Management School, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand ABSTRACT  Tourism scholars have called for critical engagement with transformational co-creativemethodologies. Within this call, there is a need for researchers to be positioned as facilitatorsand co-creators; rather than lone experts. We provide a critical review of the Ketso method.Ketso is a facilitated  ‘ workshop in a bag ’ ; a toolkit that enables people to think and work together. Ketso can be used for data collection and as a supplementary analysis tool. Criticalre fl ections on Ketso are provided to illustrate how it co-creates knowledge and collaborativesolutions for transformational tourism. As a data collection tool, Ketso provides an innovativeand authentic approach to stakeholder collaboration and decision making. As a supplementarydata analysis tool, it provides an opportunity to address some of the limitations of thematicanalysis such as simplicity and lack of coherence. In providing critical re fl ections on Ketso, wecontribute to future thinking for the adoption of this co-creative method for tourism research. ARTICLE HISTORY Received 23 September 2018Accepted 24 January 2019 KEYWORDS Ketso; creative methodology;transformational tourism;stakeholder collaboration;participation; co-creation Introduction  Tourism scholars have called for a critical engagementwith transformational research methodologies as theynoted that tourism still seems enamoured with tra-ditional methods of enquiry which continue to repro-duce existing knowledge, activities and languagepractices (Gillovic, McIntosh, Darcy, & Cockburn-Wootten, 2018, p. 23; Sedgley, Pritchard, & Morgan,2011). Tourism researchers have commented that ‘ [d]espite this mass of research  … we are failing toanswer questions ’ , calling for scholars to think creativelyto problems, critique assumptions, analyse rhetoric andevaluate the broader power discourses to gain adeeper understanding of relationships (Singh, 2012,p. 23). To address this failure, critical researchers haveadvocated for methodological activities that movebeyond the  ‘ academic as epidemic ’  approach to,instead, adopting collaborative frameworks that disruptthese traditional methodological and academic assump-tions in the  fi eld (Cockburn-Wootten, McIntosh, Smith, &Je ff  eries, 2018; Ramanayake, McIntosh, & Cockburn-Wootten, 2018; Rydzik, Pritchard, Morgan, & Sedgley,2013; Scarles, 2010). As critical tourism researchers, we have sought to adopt methods that foster creativeapproaches, develop tactics for reciprocal knowledgetransfer and to encourage ourselves and  ‘ our studentsto think against the grain ’  (Singh, 2012, p. 23). Ourpaper seeks to contribute to this gap by o ff  ering aconsideration of a research method, Ketso, that weemployed to foster creative and reciprocal knowledgetransfer between researchers and the stakeholdersaiming to make a di ff  erence to our communities.Recently, there has been interest around developingresearch practices that make an impact and bridge aca-demia, local communities and society. Academics andindustry participants, for example, have discussedways around how to increase research impact toprovide bene fi ts to stakeholders outside of academia(Boaz, Fitzpatrick, & Shaw, 2009; Hill, 2016; Reed, 2018). These relationships, illustrate the reality of working within contexts with di ff  ering interpretations,sense-making, dynamics, messiness and calls forresearchers to consider  ‘ tools and methods thatenhance our understandings complex government-business-civil-society relations ’  (Dredge, 2006, p. 564).Nowotny, Scott, and Gibbons (2003) note that thisapproach shifts the research focus and disseminationfrom the  ‘ old paradigm of scienti fi c discovery ’  to a ‘ new paradigm of knowledge production ’  focusing onknowledge distribution, transdisciplinary application-oriented research and considerations of multipleaccountabilities (p. 179). This perspective calls for aca-demics to position researchers and participants as facil-itators and co-creators, rather than  ‘ lone experts ’ engaged in top-down and one-way communication(Cockburn-Wootten et al., 2018). © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group CONTACT  Yana Wengel  TOURISM RECREATION RESEARCH2019, VOL. 44, NO. 3, 311 – 322  Scholars, for example, Galvagno and Dalli (2014),Greenhalgh, Jackson, Shaw, and Janamian (2016) andCampos, Mendes, Valle, and Scott (2018) have presentedsystematic reviews of the literature on co-creation. As aconcept prevalent in the management, psychology, edu-cation, planning and development literature, co-creationfocuses on creating value (both materially and symboli-cally) through interaction for collaborative knowledgegeneration and the development of new opportunities.Co-creation is a concept increasingly being used by aca-demics as an approach to align research with an under-standing and engagement with end users. As a method,it focuses on civic engagement, power sharing, intersec-tional collaboration, processes, relationships and con fl ictmanagement. It is seen as an approach to achieveresearch impact; to move  ‘ beyond the ivory towers ’  todeliver social impact (Greenhalgh et al., 2016, p. 392). To illustrate this approach, we provide a critical reviewof the Ketso method for co-creating tourism knowledge.Ketso is a portable toolkit, or  ‘ workshop in a bag ’ , thatenables people to think and work together more produc-tively in a facilitated environment. Our twofold criticalre fl ections on Ketso provide an overview of the Ketsotoolkit as a method of data collection to co-create sol-utions for accessible tourism through stakeholderengagement and as a supplementary data analysis toolused in our tourism research. Moving from traditional methods toco-creative disruption Methodologies provide a framework for the philosophi-cal approach used within research and shape how theresearcher uses data collection tools. It is this theoreticalapproach that drives the design and handling of the datacollection tools. For instance, two researchers can bothemploy interviews in their studies, but how they designthe procedures, questions, relationship with participants,ethical considerations and analysis techniques will allvary depending on their philosophical premise.Within the wider academia, scholars have critiquedresearch designs for their  ‘ cookie cutter ’  approach inwhich the same designs are repetitively and narrowlyapplied in ways that limit what is studied and how it isstudied ’  (Harwell, 2011, p. 147). Across disciplines,similar constraints with traditional research tools havebeen identi fi ed. For example, consumer research scho-lars Zaltman and Coulter (1995) noted that traditionalresearch techniques still limit the experiences and par-ticipation of the participant due to the dominance of written and verbal responses; the framework in surveyresearch and in most qualitative techniques is verbo-centric (p. 36). Within health, researchers have notedthat despite the multitude of research studies on tryingto change health outcomes for communities, very littlechange has actually occurred in the communitiesfacing those health issues (Horowitz, Robinson, & Seifer,2009). Instead, health researchers have realised that itis crucial to include participants in the research designprocess to increase self-e ffi cacy and mutual learningaround the issue. Traditional research techniques are also limiting forsustainability and environmental disciplines due to thecomplex problems encountered within this sector. Sus-tainability scholars require tools that overcome pro-blems, in an ambiguous context, with an overall desireto vision new solutions and possibilities (Dale &Newman, 2005; Haseman, 2006). Similarly, sustainability and tourism scholars have also argued for a reorientationto include research tools that value social relations,appreciate the diversity of context and enhance activeinvolvement in the study design for research participants(Cockburn-Wootten et al., 2018; Dredge, 2006; Potts & Harrill, 1998). In response to these limitations, scholarshave sought to employ and encourage considerationof designs and tools that challenge orthodox enquiry.Participatory approaches to engage diverse stake-holders have been seen as a more equitable way toconduct research, address the issue or need facing thecommunity, develop mutual learning and gain socialchange (Cockburn-Wootten et al., 2018). This framework moves away from seeking one truth to trying to under-stand how issues are  ‘ socially constructed, thereforethat it is subject to reinterpretation, revision and enrich-ment ’  and is concerned with praxis and transformation(Fals Borda, 2001, p. 31). In seeking this change, research-ers are concerned with the theoretical orientation of theresearch and how to create participation. This framework challenges traditionalconsiderationsaroundthe conceptof expertise and participation, i.e. who can know andmake decisions about the topic under scrutiny in theproject (Bean & Baber, 2011). To facilitate this approach,creative participatory methods are employed to stimu-late dialogue, develop understandings that transcendverbal and written language descriptors, aiming tocreate transformation and change solutions, especiallyfor complex issues facing diverse communities.Creative participatory methods are de fi ned ascontext-speci fi c and  ‘ challenge dominant assumptionsand conventions around what constitutes research,knowledge and impact ’  (van der Vaart, van Hoven, &Huigen, 2018, p. 6). In challenging dominant assump-tions, creative and participatory methods open up newunderstandings and can reveal emotional responsestoo. Examples show that the use of creative participatorymethods allows dialogue, helps identify the problem or 312 Y. WENGEL ET AL.  barriers, indicates di ff  erent interpretations of an issueand deeper understandings of experiences that may beemotional or di ffi cult to describe. Photovoice, forinstance, enables participants to discuss experiencesthat are sensitive, emotional and topics that cannot becaptured or labelled. Baker and Wang (2006) study exam-ining chronic pain concluded that this research tooldeveloped self-e ffi cacy to communicate the experienceof chronic pain. Another example, LEGO® SERIOUSPLAY®, aims to encourage dialogue and solutionsthrough the use of models built by participants. Itheavily draws on concepts of play, the use of metaphors, fl ow and constructivism (Wengel, McIntosh, & Cockburn-Wootten, 2016).Creative participatory approaches di ff  er from themainstream tools because they do not rely on writtenor verbal responses, foreground accountability, involve-ment and mutual learning of individuals that experienceand are involved in the research issue. These types of studies are not researcher-led or dominated; instead,they are designed, to begin with the participants identi-fying and prioritising the issues that they see as impor-tant to their communities. This approach aims todevelop inductive dialogic communication processes to ‘ create space[s] for the dynamic interchange of knowl-edge and understandings ’  through  ‘ a shared commit-ment to understanding issues and processes  … toconstruct new ways of conceptualising practice ’  (Cook,Atkin, & Wilcockson, 2017, p. 1). Working with commu-nities and ensuring that dissemination of mutual knowl-edge and learning outcomes are crucial for thismethodological research design.Within tourism studies, there has been a recent moveto design research that considers the role of researchersand participants as co-creators of knowledge outcomes. The premise framing this approach is a desire to adoptmethods that decentralise power, foster creative think-ing and develop knowledge transfer and dissemination. This framework draws on a variety of critical theoreticalapproaches within tourism, such as hopeful tourism,feminist, indigenous to social justice approaches toresearch design (Canosa, Wilson, & Graham, 2017;Hales, Dredge, Higgins-Desbiolles, & Jamal, 2018;Pritchard, Morgan, & Ateljevic, 2011). A table below pro-vides a summary of creative participatory methods usedin tourism research (Barry, 2017; Ji & King, 2018; Ren, Pritchard, & Morgan, 2010; Rydzik et al., 2013; Salazar, 2012; Wengel et al., 2016; Willson, McIntosh, & Zahra, 2013) ( Table 1). Participants involved in creative participatoryapproaches to research report enjoyment during theprocess highlighting that creative participatorymethods allow time to re fl ect on their personalexperiences and greater focus on  ‘ doing ’  activities,hence, producing richer context than question andanswer interviews (Banks, 2007; Pink, 2012). Yet, despite the advantages  ‘ visual research methods … remain[s] reasonably marginal within an existing quali-tative practice ’  with the prevalence of traditional quali-tative approaches (Gauntlett & Awah, 2012, p. 590). Themajority of this work aims to start with an inductive,emicapproachendeavouringtoinclude self-e ffi cacy, dia-logue and  ‘ admit the possibility of the existence of othervisions of the world where nature, spirituality and humanrelationships play a leading role in shaping the confor-mation of knowledge ’  (Espeso-Molinero, Carlisle, &Pastor-Alfonso, 2016, p. 1334). With this in mind, wepresent a discussion of Ketso, a creative participatorytool. The philosophy and process of Ketso Ketso is a toolkit which enables people to think and work together more productively (Tippett, 2013; Tippett &How, 2011). The philosophy behind the methodembraces principles of participatory research groundedon co-creational practices in order to give (marginalised)participants individual voice to create an impact on theproject for the wider community. As a participatoryaction research tool within the social sciences (Tippett,Handley, & Ravetz, 2007), the technique draws on the-ories of creative thinking (De Bono, 2009), mindmapping (Buzan & Buzan, 2006), experiential learning(Kolb, 1984), and multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1999). Originating from the disciplines of education andenvironmental studies, Ketso has now been used invarious disciplines to create engagement, co-learningand collaborative thinking (Bates, 2016). In one studyon organisational change in academic libraries, forinstance, Ketso was used as a tool to develop researchquestions and for mapping change within librariesspaces (Whitworth, Torras I Calvo, Moss, Amlesom Ki fl e, Table 1.  Creative participatory methods. Method Degree of participants participationElicitation based on photomethodsParticipants produce a photo whichrepresents participants ’  voiceDrawing based methods Participants produce a drawing or a mapwith own drawingsCollage based methods Participants produce a collage usingexisting pictures and textMind mapping anddiagramming methodsParticipants produce maps and diagramsSounds and music-basedmethodsParticipants required to record sounds andmusicNarrative based methods Participants write down their stories,poems and narrativesArtefact based methods Participants produce creative artefactsSource: Authors.  TOURISM RECREATION RESEARCH 313  & Blåsternes, 2014). In their research, participants took part in six Ketso workshops adopting mapping tech-niques to identify changes in their workplace. Duringthe workshops, participants followed the steps of Ketsomethod to discuss their current working situation, infor-mation needed in order to complete work tasks, sourcesof information and challenges of acquiring this infor-mation. At the end of the workshop, participants priori-tised future actions which were revisited during laterworkshops. Data obtained during these Ketso sessionsallowed broad comparisons of the organisationalchanges in the workplace environment. Internationally,Ketso is now used on six continents around the world,and workshop themes have included community-ledplanning and regeneration, engaging stakeholders onbehalf of local and government agencies, corporatetraining, developing new businesses, team building,student-led learning, and providing tools for teachersand researchers (Tippett & How, 2011).In tourism studies, Ketso is still relatively new andunderexplored. McIntosh and Cockburn-Wootten (2016)have used Ketso as a qualitative data collection tool forengaged, participatory tourism scholarship with avariety of diverse participants to address social issues. They argue that Ketso o ff  ers a creative way for tourismresearchers to become facilitators in co-creating insight-ful outcomes with tourism stakeholders and the widercommunity. Furthermore, Ketso was used to understandthe concept of community hospitality and how this typeof hospitality is employed by refugee-service organis-ations in facilitating welcome to refugees to NewZealand (McIntosh & Cockburn-Wootten, 2018). Inanother study, Cockburn-Wootten et al. (2018) discussand illustrate how these type of creative tools canprovide new possibilities for practice, knowledge andcrossing traditional tourism stakeholder silos. They con-clude by arguing that orientating research studieswithin a participatory creative framework by usingtools such as Ketso, enables us to challenge dominantassumptions, create reciprocal learning opportunitiesand make a di ff  erence to our communities.As a facilitated workshop technique, Ketso representsan inclusive tool which helps to unleash participants ’ creativity. Inclusive research denotes tools and activitiesthat involve people beyond their traditional role in main-stream research as a  ‘ subject ’ . These activities and rolescan encompass a broad range of involvement toinclude framing research questions, providing the rightto access information, leadership roles with the studyto involvement in the data analysis (Bigby, Frawley, &Ramcharan, 2014). Ketso enables many of these partici-patory, inclusive activities to happen by promoting criti-cal dialogue to identify the key issues, possiblecollaborative solutions and develops a reciprocal knowl-edge space for individuals, thinking through issuestogether. To illustrate how these activities occurthrough Ketso, we begin by describing the toolkit andprocess of Ketso.A standard Ketso kit accommodates up to 24 partici-pants, and consists of a large felt mat, grid mat, colouredplastic cards ( ‘ leaves ’ ) and icons, felt stripes ( ‘ branches ’ ),marking pens with water-soluble ink, and the guide( The leaves, branches, and icons aremovable and attach to felt with Velcro. The kit (Figure1) is sustainable; all items are reusable, colourful, andtactile. As an accessible, inclusive tool, Ketso could beused with illiterate participants who can make drawingson leaves and with colour-blind participants who candetermine the colour of the leaf from the designatedletter at the corner of each leaf. The Ketso workshop is based on a metaphoricalanalogy of a tree. The analogy provides a universalunderstanding of the elements of a tree during itsgrowth. Some participants of previous Ketso workshopshave agreed that the metaphorical use of a tree wasexcellent at cultivating a natural  fl ow of discussionduring the workshop from initial growth in the soil, todevelopment of branches and leaves (Lombard, 2016). The centrepiece of the workshop is represented by the ‘ trunk  ’ ; the  ‘ branches ’  represent themes, and the ‘ leaves ’  represent di ff  erent ideas expressed by theparticipants.Usually, the Ketso session starts with a warm-up ques-tion. The questions guiding the session theme are askedone by one. To answer each question, participants areallocated a speci fi c time frame, for example, 10 – 15 min.Commonly, each session has four key stages (Figure 2). Figure 1.  Ketso Kit. Source: Used with permission. 314 Y. WENGEL ET AL.
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