eParticipation research: Systematizing the field


Work data:

ISSN: 0740-624X

Alternate URL:
005 file http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.11.005

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | Participation




It has been widely acknowledged recently that the research field of eParticipation suffers from lack of comprehensive theoretical contributions, insufficient depth, and inconsistency in definitions of central concepts. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field researchers find it difficult to consolidate their theoretical groundwork and further theory building in the eParticipation domain. This paper reports a literature study of conceptual publications on the subject of Participation/eDemocracy in the time frame of 2007–2009. Its objectives are to track recent theoretical development in the field, to reveal constraints and limitations to researching the area, and to offer some suggestions for further inquiry. The results show that most theories currently used in conceptual eParticipation research originate from the fields of Political Science and Media and Communication Studies. But together with this, contemporary eParticipation authors contribute to strengthening the field with some “in-house” models and frameworks as well. Central problems with eParticipation research concern immaturity of the field, topical gaps, and biased assumptions. The review shows that the themes of recent publications can be grouped into three major categories: stakeholders, environment, and applications and tools. It also finds some interconnections between these categories; however, in general the coupling technology–stakeholders–(participatory) environments is weak.