In addition to basing our projects on research-based best practices, E-Democracy supports the efforts of online civic engagement researchers.
R+D Test Bed
A collaboration with Dr. Rosta Farzan of the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences launched in 2013 has so far yielded two conference papers. In 2014, Dr. Farzan received a Google Research Award to investigate the role of local online communities as "third places" akin to local coffee shops, community centers and beauty salons using E-Democracy data.
In May 2012, E-Democracy released the Inclusive Social Media Project Report, which provides a comprehensive participatory evaluation of the 2010-2011 project supported by the Ford Foundation (full report - pdf).
These collaborations and other early research date back to the 1990's with the publication of The Internet and Democratic Discourse: Exploring the prospects of online deliberative forums extending the public sphere - Minnesota E-Democracy (e-democracy.org) is the oldest and possibly most successful experiment in developing an ‘online commons’, Lincoln Dahlberg, Massey University, New Zealand, 2001.
Online Civic Engagement Research
- Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All - Rather than isolating people, technology makes us more connected, New York Times, 2014; Keith Hampton, Rutgers University.
- Civic Health Index, USA: Online Engagement - An annual report that elevates the discussion of our nation’s civic health by measuring a wide variety of civic indicators, National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC).
- Why Digital Inclusion for Community Voices - A compilation of statistics and data regarding the use of digital tools for community engagement and inclusion, Steven Clift, March 2012.
- The Promise and Problems of Online Deliberation - Addresses the question, "To what extent can digital media truly offer potential opportunities for deliberative decision making, particularly the practice of deliberation itself?" Kettering Foundation, 2012.
- Digital differences - Looks at differences in digital access across different demographic groups, Pew Internet, 2012.
- Three Orientations of Local Government Public Engagement: Passive, Active, Sustaining - A tip sheet to help local officials and their communities consider strategies to develop and sustain a capacity for public engagement as a part of local governance, [California] Institute for Local Government, 2012.
- Knight Community Information Challenge: 2011 Evaluation Findings - Summarizes progress made against two goals: (a) to increase the engagement of community and place-based foundations in helping meet communities’ information needs; and (b) to create more informed and engaged communities through local information and media projects, Knight Foundation, 2011.
- Connected Citizens: The Power, Potential and Peril of Networks - A guide for grantmakers to respond effectively to a world in which loose networks of individuals, not just formal organizations, are becoming powerful creators of knowledge and action, Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute, 2011.
- Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication - A white paper on the civic engagement recommendations of the Knight Commission on the information needs of communities in a democracy, Knight Commission, 2011
- Communities Online - Looks at how the public perceives community information systems, Pew Internet, Monitor Institute, and Knight Foundation, 2011.
- Social Network Sites and our Lives - Do social networking technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? This survey explored people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement, Pew Internet, 2011.
- Soul of the Community - What attaches people to their communities? A three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities looking at what factors attach residents to their communities and the role of community attachment in an area's economic growth and well-being, Knight Foundation, 2010.
- Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age - Examines the information needs of 21st Century American citizens and communities, Knight Commission, 2009.
- Do Race, Ethnicity, Citizenship and Socio-economic Status determine Civic Engagement - Provides descriptive data on the differences in civic engagement between advantaged and disadvantaged groups, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2008.
- Citizens at the center: A new approach to civic engagement, Case Foundation, 2007.
- NET GAINS: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change - Practical advice and emerging scientific knowledge about “connectivity,” Network Impact, 2006.
- Additional open government research and guides - compiled for our Sunshine 2.0 project
- Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Survey (2013, 2012) - Access to computers and the Internet, along with the skills to use these tools is critical as technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, City of Minneapolis.
- Minnesota Civic Health Index - Charts Minnesota's progress toward preparing active citizens who are confident, effective contributors to a democratic way of life, National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), 2009.
In addition to the above, we are beholden to the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Community Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) program and Community Programs and the research staff at Minnesota Compass (Wilder Research) for developing demographic profiles and maps, and providing additional guidance and support.