Recent reflections about the irrelevance of academic political communication research should help prompt the civic tech community to think critically about why no one is using all the research that gets produced these days. It's time for a frank conversation that's frankly overdue.
Highlights from civic tech research last week included calls for intermediaries to build safe spaces for government data, an unsurprising stocktaking on open data research, and a productive research takedown by someone who's not me. Plus, there's piles of almost useful learnings, useful help for contribution analysis and data analysis with visualization, and tips for making research useful. Also...
The title of this report promised a lot,, so I was disappointed to see how little the document had to offer. It's essentially a read of the Bank's GIRG data relevant to participatory rule-making, but fails to offer much insight. This is disappointing given so much dynamic work being done in the field, like GovLab's crowdlaw project.
Last week had interesting findings on political mobilization, now with brain scans. Lots of discussions about appropriate methods for measuring government performance, improving statistics and facilitating adaptive programming. Useful resources from the Engine Room and Beautiful Rising. Oh, and Disco!.
Recent MAVC-supported research on South African urban municipal politicians is refreshingly open, and important for the very specific context it studies. But we should think carefully about how, when, and if niche research can be applied to other contexts, and that means being thoughtful in how we tweet and talk about it.
The Expression Agenda (XpA) was just released by Article19. It's rather prettier than most, and nice to see free expression data in something other than a map or a list; but really, do we need this? The metric doesn't contribute any new data, and the visualization is hard to parse. The report buried in the background is more important by far, but likely only for advocacy on global policy.
Aid Data's new report paints a detailed picture of how government and civil society leaders around the world are using data for decision making. National statistics demand a lot of attention. Civil society and citizen generated data aren't as prominent as ardent believers in the data revolution might have hoped.