The crowd in crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing as a pragmatic research method


  • Lina Eklund Uppsala University
  • Isabell Stamm Freigeist-Research Group, Technical University in Berlin
  • Wanda Katja Liebermann School of Architecture, Florida Atlantic University



Crowdsourcing, Research Method, Digital Method, Digital Research Platforms, Pragmatism


Crowdsourcing, as a digital process employed to obtain information, ideas, and solicit contributions of work, creativity, etc., from large online crowds stems from business, yet is increasingly used in research. Engaging with previous literature and a symposium on academic crowdsourcing this study explores the underlying assumptions about crowdsourcing as a potential academic research method and how these affect the knowledge produced. Results identify crowdsourcing research as research about and with the crowd, explore how tasks can be productive, reconfiguring, and evaluating, and how these are linked to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, we also identify three types of platforms: commercial platforms, research-specific platforms, and project specific platforms. Finally, the study suggests that crowdsourcing is a digital method that could be considered a pragmatic method; the challenge of a sound crowdsourcing project is to think about the researcher’s relationship to the crowd, the tasks, and the platform used.

Author Biography

Lina Eklund, Uppsala University

Assistant Professor at the Department for Informatics and Media.




How to Cite

Eklund, L., Stamm, I., & Liebermann, W. K. (2019). The crowd in crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing as a pragmatic research method. First Monday, 24(10).