Posted to the Ethnos Project by on October 14th, 2012

Two recent papers provide insights into the trends and changing field of ICT4D. The first is a 2011 paper by Ricardo Gomez, Luis F. Baron, and Brittany Fiore-Silfvast:

The Changing Field of ICTD: Content analysis of research published in selected journals and conferences, 2000-2010

In this study, we report the results of a content analysis of 948 papers from selected peer reviewed journals and conferences published between 2000 and 2010 in the academic literature on the interdisciplinary field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD or ICT4D). Results indicate that the majority of the literature focuses on business and empowerment as the primary domains of ICTD work, and on ICT in general and on information systems as the most common technology objects of analysis, with a growing trend toward mobile phones. Furthermore, most of the literature consists of studies of individual countries or of organizations, and the most frequent contributions are field studies and best practices, with a growing trend towards contributing theory and policy recommendations. This is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the ICTD literature across multiple sources over ten years; it offers important insights about the trends and directions of research in the ICTD field. Further analysis will explore additional dimensions, such as the goals of development, the relationship between ICT and society, and the epistemological stances in the research, in order to offer a better understanding of the changes over time and the differences across the different journals and conferences studied.

Keywords: ICTD, content analysis, developing countries, domain, theory, meta analysis

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The other is a 2012 paper by Christopher Chepken, Gary Marsden, and Edwin Blake:

ICTD Interventions: Trends over the Last Decade

In this study, we examine Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) technology interventions that have been developed over the last decade. The purpose is to provide a snapshot of the trends that have characterized ICT4D technology interventions from the period starting 1995 to 2010. This paper presents three general dimensions i.e. ICTs, development and research which are further broken down into seven variables used to categorize projects over this period. The seven variables include: telecommunication, terminal device, target group, domain area, region, research methods and discipline. Results suggest that applied research stood out as the methodology of choice; health and education as the most researched areas; hand-held interventions as the most popular choice of solutions; and Computer Science, Informatics and Information Systems as the disciplines that offer ICT4D technology interventions. Consequently, we argue that these trends will facilitate understanding the past performance of ICT4D, both as an academic field and as an area of development practice, and identify defining ideas on the potential directions for the future.

Keywords: ICTD, ICTD interventions, technology interventions, technology intervention trends, Systematic reviews

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