Methods for Inclusion: Project FAQ

We are currently recruiting participants for PAI’s research study on Methods for Inclusion and we would love to hear from you

We are specifically interested in learning from:

  • responsible AI researchers and AI/ML developers who have incorporated some type of participatory practice in their work, and
  • advocates who are not directly involved in AI/ML research or development and work with communities who are subject to the negative consequences of AI/ML use.

If you are interested in becoming a participant, complete this survey (and share with others!). Visit our blog for an introduction to the project and read below for the project FAQ.


What is the purpose of the project?

Ultimately, the goal of this project is to curate and create resources for AI/ML researchers and developers to more effectively work with communities – especially those who have historically been excluded from the process – when developing AI/ML-driven technology or solutions. We want to enable AI/ML researchers and developers to work alongside not only direct users and clients, but also those who are impacted by the deployment of AI/ML systems (but may not be direct users). We imagine partnerships between developers and community members to be mutually enriching, drawing on the expertise and insights of all participants, not just those with advanced degrees or coding skills.

What is the purpose of the interview study?

The interview study is a key part of the overall project to help us understand the realities of implementing inclusive forms of public engagement in AI/ML development. We are interested in hearing not only from AI/ML developers and responsible AI researchers who have tried different participatory or inclusive approaches, but also community advocates. We want to make sure that community advocates – meaning, folks who work directly with communities who are impacted by the deployment or use of AI/ML systems – also provide their perspectives as to why people who don’t typically think about or work on AI/ML systems would and wouldn’t want to work with AI/ML developers.

What are the different phases of the larger project?

There are three initial phases to the Methods for Inclusion project.

    • The first phase involves a review of existing research papers related to different participatory approaches used in digital technology development, education, governance (public policy), development, among many other fields. The purpose of this phase is to make sure we have a sense of all the different ways that others have attempted to engage different communities and stakeholders, to learn from their experiences and apply those insights to the rest of the project.
    • The second phase consists of what researchers refer to as “semi-structured interviews” – or interviews that are open-ended by design to encourage interviewees to share their experiences and insights without feeling overly restricted.
    • The third phase involves working with some internal projects at Partnership on AI to develop case studies. Case studies involve in-depth and detailed observation of a specific instance or event – in this case, the use of inclusive methods in a PAI project – in order to better understand the benefits and challenges to implementing inclusive methods.

What’s the expected timeline for the project?

The three initial phases are expected to last through next year (2021). The survey of existing research is currently underway and is expected to wrap up before the end of 2020. The interviews will start in Fall 2020 and wrap up by Spring 2021. The case studies will be developed in partnership with other PAI projects through the remainder of 2021, on an on-going basis.

Who can get involved?

We are looking for participants for our interview study. Specifically, we are seeking Responsible AI researchers and AI/ML developers who engage with and/or have incorporated participatory or inclusive methods in their work. We are also seeking community advocates who work directly with communities that are affected by the deployment of AI/ML systems. We are particularly interested in speaking with community advocates who work with: 

    • racialized minorities, especially Black and Indigenous communities
    • gender minorities, identify as women of color, trans*, gender non-binary, and gender non-conforming;
    • those with accessibility concerns or issues;
    • targets of police and state surveillance, such as Black, Middle Eastern, and Muslim communities;
    • communities with low-levels of access to technology, including rural communities, low-income communities, and the elderly;
    • those who work outside traditional or legally sanctioned labor markets, including undocumented workers, gig workers, and sex workers. 

Community advocates need not also work on issues related to digital technology.

We will have other opportunities for people to get involved. Please stay connected by contacting the primary researcher, Tina Park, at tina@partnershiponai.org.

What would I need to do to get involved?

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the study, please complete this form. Your responses to the questions on the form will be used to determine if you meet the criteria to be a participant. If you are eligible, you will be contacted to schedule a time for an hour-long interview. If not, we will also let you know and keep you informed of any other future opportunities to get involved with the project.

Will I be compensated for my time?

Yes! We value your time and insights and hope to compensate you accordingly. Interview participants will be paid $100 per hour-long interview. In most cases, you will only be expected to complete one interview. However, there may be instances where we need to conduct a follow-up interview, in which case you will be compensated for your additional contributions.

Are there any risks associated with my participation?

We do not foresee any risks – financial, physical, or otherwise – to your well-being for participating in this study.

How will my responses and data be used?

Your responses from the interview, as well basic information you provide on your personal history and background, will serve as the data analyzed for research papers drafted by the Methods for Inclusion research team. These research papers may be discussed and shared through academic and professional conferences, blog posts, and other written materials published on the PAI website. These publications may also be shared through social media platforms and referenced in other media publications. Your identity will be kept confidential and will not be revealed without your explicit permission and, in most instances, be discussed alongside responses from other participants as to not reveal anything that might identify you. 

Who will have access to my responses and data?

Interviews will be audio-recorded and then transcribed to word documents. Neither the audio recording or the transcription will not be available to anyone outside of the Methods for Inclusion research team without your permission. The default stance is to maintain your anonymity and to protect your responses and data from review by anyone outside of the immediate research team.

How will my responses and data be protected?

The audio recording of your interview will be kept on a secure, password-protected cloud storage service and a local computer. Transcripts of the audio recordings will be temporarily uploaded to the service providing the transcription. Once transcription is complete and checked for accuracy, the audio recording will be permanently deleted. The transcription of your interview will be edited to remove any personally identifiable information. Depending on your preference, your personally identifiable information may or may not be included in any final publications. More information about our data management plan can be found here.