This month saw a series of research collections guides and databases, plus several assessments of open gov research, and research on what motivates citizens to take action, why M&E is broken, the demand side effects of R2I portals, and lessons from the civic tech graveyard.
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.
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.
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!.
So I’ve been away for a whopping 8 weeks, bouncing between holidays, summer schools, consultancies and moving the fam to DC. Somehow the internet refused to stop while I was gone. So as I get back into the swing of things, here is an abbreviated summary of the summer’s findings in civic tech research, plus a couple of choice weeds and reflections.
Findings #participationwashing? Participatory mechanisms promise to empower the marginalized, and can provide the illusion of power, but an ethnographic study on development processes in Boston shows how participation can simply reinforce existing power dynamics: “residents appear empowered, while officials retain ultimate decision-making authority.” Worse than that, a (peer reviewed...
Papers & Findings Using the internet leads to civic engagement. Sometimes. Kind of. This according to structural equation analysis of US college survey data (n=2000), which finds “both positive and negative effects” of internet use on engagement patterns (students who share political opinions online tend to have less political conversations offline) but also identifies...