We’re pretty sure our projects help people.
But ‘pretty sure’ isn’t good enough.
The civic tech movement is relatively young. When it began, the priority was to build the digital tools that would bring about change.
To make them effective, easy to use. To introduce a new norm when it came to the expectations of citizens talking to the people in power.
But now, a decade on, there’s no excuse. We need to know for sure that our tools are doing good things, for the right people — the people that need them most.
That’s why mySociety is committed to a programme of in depth research, asking questions like:
- What is the impact of our tools? Who feels that impact? How beneficial is it?
- Are we reaching all demographics? If not, what can we change to improve that?
- What effect does it have when we make small modifications to the way our technology works, or is presented.. or to the places where people encounter it?
These are big questions. But they are crucial ones, and, working alone and with academic institutions, research organisations and our own international partners, we’re determined to see them answered.
Sharing our findings
mySociety is just one organisation in an growing field of civic technology. We know that our research will be of great value to others, as well as helping us focus on our own future strategies.
Want to join us? Become a research partner
Examining how and why citizens use websites like WriteToThem and other civic online tools, with a goal of understanding whether online civic tech offers a new way for people to become involved in their communities and in politics.
Two pieces of research taking an in-depth look at the impact and reach of TheyWorkForYou and WriteToThem, including the sectors of society which do and do not use the sites, and to what extent the sites have managed to attract those who have never before contacted their representatives.
Examining how civic technologies in New Zealand and Australia are used, and how the structural political, educational and digital environment contributes to the use of civic technologies by diverse communities.
Gathering data from civic technology groups from around the world, this research shows the variations in usage of civic tech across four core countries: US, UK, Kenya and South Africa.
What effect does government responsiveness have on political participation? This research examines whether getting a problem fixed results in citizens going on to make further reports.
Answering one overarching question: In what circumstances, if any, can the Freedom of Information tools mySociety builds be shown to have measurable impacts on the ability of citizens to exert power over underperforming institutions?
Employing three different approaches to understand more about what motivates visitors to our parliamentary monitoring website.
This work looks into whether rapid prototyping, based on real-case user needs, can result in a more effective implementation.
TICTeC is our annual conference on the Impacts of Civic Technologies, bringing together researchers, activists and providers of civic tech to discuss how best to measure its impact.
Access slides, transcripts, videos and more from our Barcelona conference of April 2016.
The first TICTeC was a one-day conference in London, UK. See the talks and materials here.
Save the date for 2017: 25-26 April, in Florence, Italy.
Something to add? Become a research partner