Literature review of digital public engagement


Rebecca Rumbul, mySociety’s Head of Research has written a literature review examining current academic research on how digital tools can assist the creation of a meaningful, participative and collaborative environment.

This review examines how digital tools are already addressing barriers to citizen participation in decision making, in order to inform future use of digital engagement. It was written to build a knowledge base for Public Square’s work.

Key themes from this review

  • Bureaucratic and institutional structures will exert pressure upon new digital platforms that may subvert or frustrate product development. Any digital tool needs to integrate into the existing structures while breaking down barriers between policy departments.
  • Meaningful digital engagement necessarily goes beyond the transactional and should close  the feedback loop. This requires not only citizen input, but a commitment that citizen input is not the end of the process.
  • Social media platforms are the preferred method of contact for a large number of people. Any tool operating exclusively outside of this environment is likely to exclude those whose preference is to stay within their pre-existing media platform of choice. However, more effort need to be made to reach those who have less engagement with social media.
  • Any platform needs to treat citizens as citizens, rather than consumers, and provide as far as possible, a rounded and holistic experience.

Read the full literature review

You can read the full literature review here.

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