research links w 23-24 / 17

Findings

Research on nearly 3 decades of democratic innovation and e-participation in Latin America has some interesting findings (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). According to an Open Democracy blogpost (the actual project’s website is down): civil society participation programming uses tech more often than not, smaller countries are less prolific than large countries in terms of tech-driven innovations, and tech driven innovations are just as common at the national level as they are at the sub-national level. Though digital innovations are widespread, they only rarely facilitate decision-making (30%)  or are formalized in legislation or policy (less than 50%).

University of Maryland research on anti-Trump protests finds digital media commonalities among an exceptionally diverse group, suggesting something that approximates a “movement.”

A review of research on government social media use finds that it is generally quantitative, ignoring both users and impacts, while a library study in the UK suggests that Open Data makes it hard to archive well in the NHS, and a study of service delivery in Kenya found that it was improved by decentralization, but that the mediating effects of e-government initiatives were insignificant (275 respondents, 8 county govts).

Continue reading “research links w 23-24 / 17”

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research links w 13-17

Findings

@bbcmediaaction ‏ sums up research on social media in development, finds little evidence of impact, and notes that most researcher on the subject is focused on the Arab uprisings of 2011-2012.

Community

@GlobalIntegrity ‏ continues to set the standard for best practice in governance assessments. They’re about to release provisional 2016 African Integrity data for a 2 month peer comment and review phase. This is part of an effort to learn about how the data is used and to improve their methodologies. Their recent blogpost reflects on the general process and some of the most tricky methodological/practical challenges to actionable governance research, like how to balance comparability with country-fit. Continue reading “research links w 13-17”

research links w 12- 17

Findings

Politically marginalized groups have less access to the internet, worldwide. This shocker based on network measurements over 8 years and identification of politically relevant groups as defined by the Ethnic Power Relations (EPR).

The relationship between online and offline activism is messy, according to a survey of 1023 adolescents from five Balkan countries, while a year-long study in Uganda and Kenya documents ways that citizen-generated data can be used to improve service delivery and policy, but finds that relationships matter, and that measurement is hard.

Why governments implement e-participation: Governments are most willing to implement e-participation schemes when they enjoy strong ICT infrastructure and human capital, according to a review of archival data from 153 countries (pulled from UN E-Gov surveys and the World Bank’s Development and Governance Indicator sets from 2010-2012). Most interestingly, quality of governance did not positively correlate with willingness to implement e-participation, and the authors suggest that advocates should accordingly push for better ICT infrastructure and human resources, “to move up the ladder of e-government maturity.” Also worth noting, willingness to conduct e-consultations was the only form of willingness negatively associated with e-government maturity. On this last point, the authors speculate is because governments are afraid that consultative processes will slow down e-government processes.

Continue reading “research links w 12- 17”

research links w 3/17

Papers & Findings

What makes multi stakeholder initiatives for transparency effective? In the case of EITI, it seems to be treating civil society  as equal partners and ensuring that they bring relevant technical skills to the table. This according to doctoral research that also outlines common “pathways to proactive transparency reform.” Would be great to see research testing these findings in other MSI contexts, cough, the OGP.

Data on the 2012 online consultation for the Egyptian constitution suggests that demonstrably popular articles are less likely to be changed, but that ex ante agreement on constitutional design among elites is just as important as popular consensus on substance for successful citizen feedback initiatives.

A new handbook on political trust looks amazing and timely, but is prohibitively expensive, and this new book on participatory democracy compares participatory hype to increasingly reported feelings of disconnection from politics, finding that ” participatory instruments have become more focused on the formation of public opinion and are far less attentive to, or able to influence, actual reform.” Continue reading “research links w 3/17”

State of research: data visualization

Data visualization is all the rage in advocacy circles. Activists and development orgs are doing it all the time, often without formal mandates or training. This tends to go unquestioned, because  it’s easy to adopt a “good enough” approach to peripheral activities from the trenches of campaigning, and because visualization and design are things that a lot of us like to think we’re naturally good at.

But this is also a field where a ton of research has been done, and lots of evidence on which to base our decisions. Who knew? Continue reading “State of research: data visualization”