There’s lots of findings on inclusion and exclusion this week. A study of Fix My Street platforms in Brussels suggests that they “marginalize low-income and ethnically diverse communities,” while a Dutch survey suggests that citizen forums aren’t increasing political engagement as much as we’d like. primarily due to problems with representation and drop-out problems, and @phat_controller offers early research reflections from the Philippines on how digital technologies are excluding rather than including. Meanwhile, a survey in Brazilian favelas (telecenter convenience sampling, n=107) suggests online content creation, digital freedom, mobile Internet access as best ways to improve political engagement among marginalized groups.
State of knowledge: There were a few posts outlining status of evidence this week, and when asking what we know about how are governments using social media for public health… : not much. We have absolutely no idea, according to recent literature review, which found only 22 studies to include from “2441 potentially relevant search results.” These were all about Twitter use in high income countries, where authorities seem to be motivated by governance norms more than efficiency or co-production. Meanwhile, @TriciaPetruney summarizes three examples of smart research on mulit-sector, integrated development programming, and links to a summary of the state of the art (TL;DR: it’s complicated), and a survey of Spanish government actors confirmed what we all already thought we already knew: legal norms and the public’s political influence help determine whether legislators proactively release government information online.
In other news, “opinion leaders” in developing countries care more about governance than any other development issue, according to a recent World Bank survey, but Authenticity and transparency on social media are not important values for public relations professionals in Brazil and Portugal, according to a recent survey conducted in those countries.
Community & Resources
The latest Global Open Data Index is out. This version put a significant effort into community dialogue mechanisms to inform analysis, which shows that data is hard to find and often hard to use. So, there’s that. Still. There’s a useful blogpost on how to read the scores as well as a post reflecting on the sustainability of the effort, as volunteers get tired of volunteering and countries drop off.
World Press Freedom was last Wednesday. This saw the launch of the World Press Freedom Index (perceptions of experts, all countries, focus on press freedom) and the Worlds of Journalism Study (interviews with journalists in 68 countries, 2007-2011). Worth looking at together.
The Harvard Shorestein Center has a research agenda to combat fake news make conservatives part of the solution, make the truth louder, tools for research).
@AllVoicesCount has a new report on citizen generated data, based on case studies in Kenya and Uganda. It’s light on findings, heavy on potential and recommendations, but has some useful details for thinking about power in deep context.
In the Methodological Weeds
Simple reading: Taiwan moved up six spots on this year’s World Press Freedom Index, but this “does not reflect real improvements, but rather a global worsening of the situation in the rest of the world.”
The Datasaurus Dozen GIF has been making the inter web rounds, and makes a striking point (always visualize your data). But the paper on which it’s based is worth a deep read, not in the least for the inspiration to use the DrawMyData tool.
Ana Bracic discusses using video games to document discrimination against Roma people in Slovenia, while researchers from Ohio describe experiments to determine the effectiveness of human rights campaign messaging, with fascinating findings regarding personal narratives, the use of multiple frames and the strategic value of describing program scope. .
ICTworks has a great post on some of the practical challenges to participatory research aiming for concrete outputs (software development).
This new book paints a messy picture of how civil society works in Latin America (“confrontational collective action and civic participation at different moments. Operating within fluid, dynamic, and heterogeneous fields of contestation … have overflowed their boundaries, opening new democratic spaces or extending existing ones in the process…).
The Atlantic has a “collection of essays from technologists and scholars about how machines are reshaping civil society,” with new issues posted daily.
- R&D Funding for Mobile Digital Technology & Progressive Social Change (Deadline: May 31)
- 5 PHDs, including Activism & Protest in the Digital Age (Dublin, Deadline 2 June)
- Doctoral Consortium– Technology for the Common Good (Deadline: 18 May, Event: 26-30 June, France)
Miscellanea & Absurdum
- Vampires, Race, and Transnational Hollywoods (Edinburgh University Press)
- China Compiles Its Own Wikipedia, But Public Can’t Edit It (Headline, Bloomberg Tech)
- #AntiManel: @MelanieHannah has crowdsourced a list of 1,000 tech and science speakers who aren’t men. No more excuses, event organizers.