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Merging Theory with Practice: Toward an Evaluation Framework for Community Informatics

By Dara O&apos


Community informatics is defined as a strategy or discipline that focuses on the use of information and communication technologies by territorial communities. This paper analyzes the emerging evaluation literature on community informatics to develop an understanding of the indicators used to gauge project impacts in community networks and community technology centers. This study finds that community informatics evaluations fall into five key areas: 1) enhancing strong democracy; 2) increasing social capital; 3) empowering individuals; 4) revitalizing sense of community; and 5) providing economic development opportunities. This paper aims to develop an understanding or model of community informatics research that synthesizes diverse theoretical perspectives in two ways: first, by presenting a taxonomy of more than 30 evaluation studies based on common methodological and explanatory dimensions; and second, by drawing from this taxonomy to construct an evaluation framework of appropriate indicators and methods for community informatics evaluation research

Year: 2001
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