methodology

e-Skills

Title: e-Skills
Authors: Jan Philipp Schmidt and Christoph Stork
Pages: 25 pp.
Series Towards Evidence-based ICT Policy and Regulation: Volume One 2008 Policy Paper Three
Publisher: ResearchICTAfrica (RIA)
Date published: 2008
Date accessed: 18/06/2008
Type of information: research publication
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, 1,1mb)
Abstract:
The focus of this paper is to link e-skills to readily available indicators and assess the quality of indicators currently used to capture e-skills. For this purposes an index is constructed from self-reported confidence levels for a range of typical computing and Internet skills. This research adds one tile to the overall picture by identifying an indicator that captures e-skills better than existing indicators in use.

Measuring the Information Society - The ICT Development Index 2009 Edition

Title: Measuring the Information Society - The ICT Development Index 2009 Edition
Pages: 108 pp. (excluding Annex 5)
ISBN: 92-61-12831-9
Publisher: ITU
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 18/06/2009
Type of information: research publications
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf), but excluding Annex 5! Annex 5 features the statistical tables of tariffs used to compute the ICT Price Basket. It includes detailed tariff (or price) data for 150 countries broken down by cost of fixed telephone services, cost of mobile cellular services and cost of fixed broadband Internet services, for the year 2008.
Abstract:
The latest edition of Measuring the Information Society features the new ITU ICT Development Index. The Index captures the level of advancement of ICTs in more than 150 countries worldwide and compares progress made between 2002 and 2007. It also measures the global digital divide and examines how it has developed in recent years. The report also features a new ICT Price Basket, which combines fixed, mobile and broadband tariffs for 2008 into one measure and compares it across countries. The analytical report is complemented by a series of statistical tables providing country-level data for all indicators included in the Index.

Impact Assessment of ICT-for-Development Projects: A Compendium of Approaches

Title: Impact Assessment of ICT-for-Development Projects: A Compendium of Approaches
Authors: Richard Heeks and Alemayehu Molla
Pages: 162 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-905469-03-1
Series: Manchester Centre for Development Informatics Working Paper 36
Publisher: Development Informatics Group, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 18/06/2009
Type of information: research publications
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, MS Word)
Abstract:
Billions of US dollars are invested each year by the public, NGO and private sectors in information-and-communication-technologies-for-development (ICT4D) projects such as telecentres, village phone schemes, e-health and e-education projects, e-government kiosks, etc.

Yet we have very little sense of the effect of that investment. Put simply, there is far too little impact assessment of ICT4D projects.

In part that reflects a lack of political will and motivation. But in part it also reflects a lack of knowledge about how to undertake impact assessment of ICT4D.

This Compendium aims to address that lack of knowledge. It presents a set of frameworks that can be used by ICT4D practitioners, policy-makers and consultants to understand the impact of informatics initiatives in developing countries.

The Compendium is arranged into three parts:

* Overview – explains the basis for understanding impact assessment of ICT4D projects, and the different assessment frameworks that can be used.
* Frameworks – summarises a series of impact assessment frameworks, each one drawing from a different perspective.
* Bibliography – a tabular summary of real-world examples of ICT4D impact assessment.

See also:
Educator's guide to student questions for this paper.

Mobile Phones and Financial Services in Developing Countries: A Review of Concepts, Methods, Issues, Evidence and Future Research Directions

Title: Mobile Phones and Financial Services in Developing Countries: A Review of Concepts, Methods, Issues, Evidence and Future Research Directions
Author: Richard Duncombe and Richard Boateng
Pages: 35 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-905469-04-8
Series: Manchester Centre for Development Informatics Working Paper 37
Publisher: Institute for Development Policy and Management, SED, University of Manchester
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 18/06/2009
Type of information: research publications
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, MS Word)
Abstract:
Research concerning mobile phones and financial services in developing countries has undergone rapid growth in recent years. This paper seeks to improve understanding of this expanding research area and in so doing consider the potential for mobile phone applications for the delivery of financial services for the poor.

The current state of knowledge is assessed by reviewing the content of 43 research articles drawn from both peer-reviewed academic journals and non-peer reviewed studies and other practitioner-orientated sources. A framework is developed that categorises and analyses the research according to a socio-technical spectrum, identifying levels of analysis and differentiating research activity according to a lifecycle model that incorporates financial needs, design and applications, adoption and adaptation, and impact.

Positive aspects of research to-date are identified, most noticeably the high level of practitioner involvement in research publication and the strong links that have been forged between the mobile phone industry and the research community. This, however, has also caused research to become too narrowly defined and largely a- theoretical.

Hence, research weaknesses and gaps are also identified suggesting that issues relating to financial needs and the measurement of impacts have been comparatively neglected, whilst application design and adoption have received greater attention. Emphasis tends to be on devices and new ways to deliver services, but ignores the broader context of financial services for the poor and tends to be technology-led. In order to correct this imbalance in research, the paper identifies key research gaps relating to concepts, methodologies, issues addressed and evidence presented and provides pointers to future research directions.

See also:
Educator's guide to student questions for this paper.

Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals (2009 Edition)

Title: Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals (2009 Edition)
Pages: 130 pp.
Publisher: ITU
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 18/06/2009
Type of information: research publication
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The ITU Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals has been prepared to support countries in their efforts to measure and monitor the developments towards becoming information societies. It aims at improving the availability and comparability of statistics on access to, and use of ICTs by households and individuals. Its main focus is on the core list of ICT indicators (as revised in 2008) agreed under the framework of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development. The Manual can be used as basic reference material when preparing, designing and implementing ICT household surveys. It also serves as the basis for ITU's training course on ICT household statistics.

See also:
*Revisions and additions to the core list of ICT indicators
* Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

Impact Assessment of Mobile Phones on Development: Concepts, Methods and Lessons for Practice

Title: Impact Assessment of Mobile Phones on Development: Concepts, Methods and Lessons for Practice
Author: Richard Duncombe
Pages: 27 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-905469-06-2
Series: Manchester Centre for Development Informatics Working Paper 39
Publisher: Institute for Development Policy and Management, SED, University of Manchester
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 17/06/2009
Type of information: research publication
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, MS Word)
Abstract:
The use of mobile phones is an increasingly important part of development across all sectors, which has led to rapidly increasing investment by the mobile phone industry and new demands on the resources of donors. Impact assessment (IA) is an increasingly important tool for evaluating whether or not mobiles-for-development (m-development) funds are being used effectively. This paper reviews 18 published studies, which are critically evaluated with reference to key building blocks for good practice in IA. These building blocks encompass: the extent to which the studies address the needs of defined audiences or beneficiaries, the choice of types of impact to assess and units of assessment, the application of suitable conceptual frameworks, and the rigour of the methodology followed.

The findings suggest that m-development IA to date falls into three main categories: purely quantitative approaches rooted in information economics, and purely qualitative approaches rooted in social impact assessment. A further mixed method category provides cost effective and timely findings, but with the result of diluting the rigour evident at the methodological poles.

Overall, the paper concludes there is a need for more and better guidance for the conduct of such studies, particularly in relation to identifying the rationale and objectives of IA, and linking the choice of concepts and methods with the requirements of key audiences and beneficiaries. Thus, the paper identifies m-development IA as a contested area, and by taking stock of experience thus far, seeks to raise the level of debate concerning the relative merit of alternative methodological and conceptual approaches.
See also:
Educator's guide to student questions for this paper.

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