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PhD Thesis (2007)

CONTEXT MATTERS: A Social Informatics Perspective on the Design and Implications of Large-Scale eGovernment Systems

In my PhD dissertation I analysed the design and effects of two e-government applications from a Social Informatics perspective. The FASME (Facilitating Administrative Services for Mobile Europeans) project aimed at developing a prototype of a system that supports Europeans in solving administrative problems when they move to another European country. The goal of the TrueVote project was to design and implement an e-voting system based on digital signatures and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The system allowed citizens to cast a ballot from home, work, or abroad on any computer hooked up to the internet. In researching new technologies we need to be critical about the possibilities and limitations that sophisticated information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide. This critical thinking also means that we need to examine ICTs from perspectives that do not automatically and ’implicitly’ adopt the goals and beliefs of the groups that commission, design or implement specific applications and systems (Kling et al. 2000).

One of the questions I asked in both cases was: How are these large-scale systems developed and how can users participate in their design? As my study aimed to seek insightful opinions from the users, a combination of methods – focus groups, interviews, testing the systems, questionnaires, etcetera – were applied. I am interested to understand how methods of user involvement can be adopted to the context of large-scale e-government development. I investigated whether the current methods for user requirements engineering and evaluation are sufficiently suited to the characteristics of e-government development. In addition, this thesis explores what the intended and unintended consequences of e-government technologies and their applications are (focusing mainly on remote e-voting systems). We look at the effects of these complex systems, and the conditions under which they are implemented. Furthermore, I ask whether unexpected second-order effects can be investigated at an early phase of designing a new system.

Ph.D Thesis in the News

11/4/2007 Burgers meer betrekken bij ontwikkeling e-overheid, Griffiers.nl

24/3/2007 Burger te weinig betrokken bij ontwikkeling e-overheid, Merk & Reputatie

21/3/2007 Twee promovendi binnen het Rathenau Instituut, Rathenau Nieuws

18/1/2007 Stemmen via internet risicovol, Intermediair Publieke Zaken

15/1/2007 Internetstemmen niet voor iedereen, Binnenlands Bestuur

15/1/2007 E-stemmen geeft geen hogere opkomst, ScienceGuide

13/1/2007 INTERNETSTEMMEN, Livre

13/1/2007 Internetstemmen leidt niet tot hogere opkomst, Security.nl

12/1/2007 Internetstemmen leidt niet tot hogere opkomst, AutomatiseringGids

12/1/2007 Internetstemmen leidt niet tot hogere opkomst, Planet Internet

12/1/2007 E-voting leidt niet tot hogere opkomst, Politiek Online

12/1/2007 Kamer vertrouwt stemmachines niet, Reformatorisch Dagblad

12/1/2007 Geen hogere opkomst door online stemmen, NederlandsNieuws

11/1/2007 Geen hogere opkomst door online stemmen, Trouw

11/1/2007 Geen hogere opkomst door online stemmen, Nu.nl

11/1/2007 Geen hogere opkomst door online stemmen, Elsevier

 

 

Download the Thesis

PDF file (3,07 MB) or Nederlandse samenvatting / Dutch summary (28 KB)

 

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