The use of information technology in the community : an evaluation
This research describes the evaluation of SPRITE (Sheffield Peoples' Resource for Information Technology), an innovative project fundet by the European Social Fund and Sheffield City Council Department of Employment and Economic Development. The aim of the project is to make I.T. resources accessible to unwaged people in their local community centres. SPRITE was evaluated during the first two years of the project's implementation. The evaluation was set in an action research framework and evaluation findings were regularly fed back into the project. Therefore the emphasis of the research was on understanding the processes by which the project developed, as well as describing and analysing project outcomes. A variety of qualitative data collection techniques were used and the analysis and interpretation of this data is presented in a series of in-depth case studies. The thesis provides: 1. An overall evaluation of the project, focusing on six research questions. These include an analysis of the impact that involvement with SPRITE had on unwaged individuals, and the impact on the community centres where the project was based. 2. An assessment of the extent to which the psychological literature can provide insights into the issues that the project raises, for example, the application of the organisational psychology literature to community organisations. 3. A review of action research as a technique in the light of the results of the evaluation of SPRITE. ~. Practical recommendations for those involved with the implementation of, or the evaluation of, similar community projects. The results of the evaluation are discussed in terms of these four areas. The conclusions note that SPRITE was successful in making I.T. resources accessible to unwaged people in Sheffield, and that the tools of organisational analysis can be useful to organisations within the community sector. A model of action research which focuses on the different characteristics of feedback at various stages of an evaluation is provided. Additionally a list of recommendations aimed at service providers within the voluntary or community sector is produced.