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

October 2017

Last Week in Civic Tech Research: the perfect storm for government as platform, the cost of infant lives and open government, and proof that size matters (for protests)

Findings: A review of 133 cross-sectional studies finds that the most significant political effects of social media use across contexts have to do with expression of political views on social networking sites, while an  experiment with Belgian legislators confirms the WUNC thesis of protest influence on elite opinion (ie: size matters, so does coherence). An experiment on public sector...

The State of Formal Transparency Research, a Civic Tech Iceburg

@allvoicescount is having their final learning event this week, and starting to draw conclusions from some of their research outputs. This seems like a good time to be consistently be reminding ourselves about all the complementary research on the same issues. There’s a tremendous amount of research being produced behind the ivory curtain. Presumably, we don’t have time to read it, or...

Looking for voice in the chatter

First of all, let me say that I like theory. I like convoluted and complex language when it represents careful and complex argumentation and analysis. I actually enjoy reading Deleuze, I think philosophy is fun, and I will almost never dismiss complicated text as mumbo-jumbo. Today is an exception, and Voice or chatter? is an apt title for the recent research report form MAVC. This research...

Last week in civic tech research: T4T/A boosts government efficiency, govt social media is for broadcasting and 700(!) activism nodes in LatAm

Firstly: policy makers say that readability is the most imp thing for getting your research used for decision-making, + more tips from @fp2p. Just getting that out there. Findings: Research on National Integrity Systems in New Zealand and the UK suggest that NIS impact is limited and disparate, while data analysis across 51 countries from 2003-2010, suggests that ICTs, transparency and anti...

Governance beyond elections: how considering US political crises helps bridge the gap between disciplines and methodologies

…it is critical that we look beyond the conventional focus on elections, campaign finance reform, and voting rights. There is no question that these are critical areas of concern, and necessary preconditions for meaningful democracy reform. But these areas are also well-studied and understood by many of us in the field. In this report, we hope to highlight some of the other dimensions that...

Click bait for accountability pundits: this month’s most misleading blog title

This blogpost describes an MAVC learning event, which in turn identified “7 streams of tech-enabled change that have proven to be effective in pursuing accountable governance.” Those seven streams are listed below, and while they represent a useful typology of tech for accountability programming, they do not represent activities that connect governments with their citizens.

research links w 40,17

Briefly: European governments are making decisions behind closed doors, according to research by Access Info.  A survey on citizen uptake of a reporting platform (Linz, Austria, n=773) finds mixed results on motivations for participation, but community disconnectedness and previous reporting experience seem strong predictors. A natural experiment with @openstreetmap‏ data suggests that data...

Evidence on social accountability programs

…social accountability processes almost always lead to better services, with services becoming more accessible and staff attendance improving. They work best in contexts where the state-citizen relationship is strong, but they can also work in contexts where this is not the case. In the latter, we found that social accountability initiatives are most effective when citizens are supported to...

research links w 38-39, 17

New Media and Society has a special issue coming up on digital activism. It looks like a collection of cases, with little synthetic analysis or commentary. See the intro article in post print here. There’s also a special issue of the Qualitative Research journal focused on how qualitative methods should respond to the onslaught of new social data, including ethnographic methods for...

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

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