Methodical Snark

critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech
This is a blog about how the civic tech and accountability field measures its work and its impact. It’s based on a critical perspective, but tries to be more productive than conference snark. It’s an effort to highlight how much work is being done in silos across the academic-NGO divide, to de-mystify important methods and findings, and to call out research that is sloppy or unhelpful. Scroll for the blog roll, or check out the core content types:
WEEKLY RESEARCH ROUNDUP: findings, happenings, and absurdity in civic tech research. 
I read THIS FOR YOU: summaries for those with more interest than time. 
Mini Lit Reviews: when I wonder about something, I check what the research says, and write it up.

Latest stories

2 week Roundup: civic space is good for trust, egov is bad for corruption, metrics for government culture change

This 2 week roundup has lots of evidence on monitoring to reduce bribery and SMS to increase voter information. There's comparative evidence on increasing political trust and decreasing corruption, plus excellent advances on understanding how to get evidence used in policy. Plus a review of open data measurement frameworks.

Roundup: fact checking works, radio boosts participation, but generally, government innovation is failing.

Civic tech research saw some exciting findings last week, including experimental work on factors affecting civic voice and representation across multiple country and municipal contexts. Also some useful research for advocating feedback within organizations, great research-driven resources for better advocacy and some deep deep weeds on merging human rights databases.

Roundup: pollution live cams, depressing findings, and the unicorn of Iceland’s crowdsourced constitution

Last week's research roundup has evidence on causes of citizen complaints and parliamentarian responsiveness, plus depressing research on popular trends in human rights advocacy and community driven development. But fear not, there's also frank and optimistic takes on social media, smart new methods for measuring active citizenship and an inspiring story from 18th century abolitionist activism.

Roundup: e-gov is good for anti-corruption and less rigorous research is best for policy

Last week saw civic tech research on links between e-government and corruption, analysis of protest signs, and a nice case study on what kind of research is most effective for influencing health policy. Plus there's some excellent responsible research resources, research overviews on blockchain and governance, and Uganda levies a social media tax. Yes, there's also that.

Roundup: formal organizations campaign more online, instructive failure in scaling engagement, and weedsy methods for measureing #open

Civic tech research last week included deep dives into measuring and assessing open government in Mexico, insights on why governments choose collaboration, and field experiments that hint at the limits of scaled engagement strategies. Plus, funding, resources for mapping legal regimes, and smart thinking on how to think about civic tech impact.

Roundup: circumvention on the rise, costing closed contracting, better case selection, and a check list for digital methods

Last week saw new evidence on the costs of closed contracting, features for participatory engagement, and the positive outcomes of collaborative and adaptive development programming. Plus there's new resources for using Stata and guidance on digital and econometric methods. Plus, smart phones make us do silly things.

Roundup: participation is up in Latin America, nobody’s paying for the data revolution, and somebody finally asked the activists what research they actually want

Last week in civic tech saw a new index on civic engagement in Latin America, findings on government run crowdsourcing initiatives, lessons from m-health pilots, and some excellent summaries from the world of development research. Plus major geekdom on QCA methods, and for the first time I'm aware of, actual research on what kind of research activists want.

The Pickle Post Cont’d

As noted, I’ve been away. Here’s a quick update on some of the pickles I’ve had in my jar. They’re all wrapping up now, which means more snark is en route. The Teaching Pickle I’ve been teaching a class at Georgetown this spring on Technology, Transparency and Accountable Government Under Trump. It’s a mixed grad/undergrad seminar offered at the School of Foreign Service program on Science...

Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech

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