Using mixed methods to track the growth of the Web: tracing open government data initiatives

Ramine Tinati, Susan Halford, Leslie Carr, Catherine Pope

Research output: Other contribution


In recent years, there have been a rising number of Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives; a political, social and technical movement armed with a common goal of publishing government data in open, re-usable formats in order to improve citizen-to-government transparency, efficiency, and democracy. As a sign of commitment, the Open Government Partnership was formed, comprising of a collection of countries striving to achieve OGD. Since its initial launch, the number of countries committed to adopting an Open Government Data agenda has grown to more than 50; including countries from South America to the Far East.Current approaches to understanding Web initiatives such as OGD are still being developed. Methodologies grounded in multidisciplinarity are still yet to be achieved; typically research follows a social or technological approach underpinned by quantitative or qualitative methods, and rarely combining the two into a single analytical framework. In this paper, a mixed methods approach will be introduced, which uses qualitative data underpinned by sociological theory to complement a quantitative analysis using computer science techniques. This method aims to provide an alternative approach to understanding the socio-technical activities of the Web. To demonstrate this, the activities of the UK Open Government Data initiative will be explored using a range of quantitative and qualitative data, examining the activities of the community, to provide a rich analysis of the formation and development of the UK OGD community.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

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