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Title: Towards a pattern language for e-participation processes (PL4eP)
Author: Ali, Hayat
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 9869
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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The role of ICTs in political life and civic participation is now widely accepted and further validated through the massive use of social media, which has led to an increasing expectation of involvement by citizens through what is often termed e-Participation: the use of ICT to enable citizens' participation in the process of central or local governmental decision making. Increased involvement has created the need to consider the design of participatory processes beyond a single event, such as voting, towards more complex situations which may involve a series of events conducted over a period of time. However, e-Participation is a challenging system to put into operation, as there are three major problems inherent to its application: 1) the process, in which the participation process is not a single activity but a series of activities of different types and formats, such as workshops, focus groups or voting, which become more complex as the level of citizen participation increases; 2) the complexity of designing the participation processes requires skills, experience and knowledge which would require governments to hire or train skilled consultants. This would be very expensive and constrained by the availability of the resources; and 3) the difficulty of choosing the appropriate technologies from the wide range available. Choosing appropriate tools, that are both effective and accessible to citizens, will be of crucial importance to any e-Participation scheme. This research seeks to develop a structured approach to designing public participation processes based upon the concept of the pattern language to overcome complexities in the public participation process field, by combining knowledge from pattern languages for e-Business, which concerns itself with mapping from real world problems to ICT solutions, with that of Collaboration Engineering, which concerns the design of collaboration processes.The approach to addressing the above problems is based on that of Design Science Research (DSR), which provides an iterative method of problem solving. In this research, four design cycles were followed to design a PL4eP through five proposed processes of DSR: awareness of problems, suggestion, development, evaluation and conclusion. The pattern language was evaluated by experts and practitioners in the field who found that the language provides a promising design approach that is a beneficial starting point for non-experienced designers to design public participation processes. Thus, the language enables the designers to think about their scope and objectives before engaging in the participation process and shows them the choices available against their objectives through its logical topology, presented in terms of the five steps. The contribution of this research is in recognising the potential complexity of participatory processes and in bringing together aspects of two bodies of work on patterns to propose a new pattern language for designing e-Participation processes, thePL4eP. From its two viewpoints, the conceptual views in terms of layers, and the users' view in terms of the five design steps delivered through a website, the PL4eP contributes to both theory and practice.
Supervisor: Macaulay, Linda ; French, Simon Sponsor: University of Bahrain
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available