My PhD: “Designing Platforms for Online Public Political Deliberation”, investigates the role of platform design in the behaviour of participants in online political discussion. Drawing on the work of Diana Mutz, the study aims to shed light on how current and emerging technologies may be used, within specific niches on the web, to promote productive “cross-cutting” political discussion, in contrast to antagonistic contributions or “balkanised”, ideologically based discussion groups. Todd Graham’s framework for analysis of deliberative quality in online conversation is used as a basis for textual analysis. The influences of factors other than technology are not discounted; Freelon’s three models of online democracy are used to compare the effect of design in different user groups and the effect of levels of institutional linkage of a platform and the subject matter being discussed are also taken into account.
Research Blog – eParticipation and online deliberation
- Slow progress towards screen scraping conversations
- How much do we need to think when making decisions
- Digital Democracy: More than Public Opinion Pieces
- Beyond the AV debate
- Deliberation in e-Participation
- Mediating debate for large scale argumentation
MSc Dissertation: Evaluating crowd-sourced data as a source of information for accessibility analysis of development sites
Online, location based services, such as Google Maps, are used widely with great confidence and satisfaction by the user. The “crowd sourced” nature of the data held has the potential to provide a vast array of temporally accurate data to be used in a variety of fields. One such field could be that of local planning and sustainable development. The online directories provide location details of businesses, services and amenities within a geographical area. The distance to each of these from potential housing development areas could influence the number and lengths of trips generated and thus affect the sustainability of the developments. Finding validated “official” data sets of the locations of all the possible amenities affecting trip generation is an onerous task. If the data contained in online directories is of a high enough quality and can be accessed in a flexible enough manner it may open the door to specific, in-depth local amenity accessibility analysis that could greatly improve the sustainable planning of local housing development. This paper evaluates one online location based data service, Google Maps, to determine the quality and accessibility of the data contained and its applicability to the planning process. The study found, using a prototype accessibility analysis tool, that quality of data varied between amenity types and accessibility analysis of some, such as GPs and Dentists, could not be done with the same quality levels as with traditional data sets, but others, such as pubs, banks and pharmacies could be analysed with more confidence. It is concluded that, while some amenities are better analysed in the traditional manner, the service has great potential to provide analysis of amenity types not currently included in current accessibility studies and therefore greatly enhance the sustainability of the housing development process.