Educators' Guide to Development Informatics Working Papers
DI1; DI2; DI3; DI4; DI5; DI6; DI7; DI8; DI9; DI10; DI10a DI11; DI12; DI13; DI14; DI15 ; DI16; DI17; DI18; DI19; DI20; DI21; DI22; DI23 ; DI24; DI25; DI26; DI27; DI28; DI29; DI30, DI31, DI32, DI33, DI34, DI35, DI36, DI37, DI38, DI39, DI40, DI41, DI42, DI43, DI44, DI45, DI46, DI47, DI48, DI49, DI50, DI51, DI52, DI53, DI54, DI55, DI56, DI57, DI58, DI59, DI60, DI61, DI62, DI63, DI64, DI65, DI66, DI67, DI68, DI69, DI70, DI71, DI72, DI73, DI74
The guides below provide a set of student questions that deal with both synopsis and development of the ideas presented in the online Development Informatics papers. It is intended that both papers and questions are circulated to students prior to class, and then answers are presented and discussed in class.
The papers can be used for a variety of modules including: Information Systems; ICTs & Society; IT & Globalisation; IT Policy; Technology and Development.
- Some of the questions are overlapping and it is suggested that educators be selective in their choice of question.
- The papers and questions are intended primarily for postgraduate programmes but can also be used on the later years of undergraduate programmes.
- In using these papers for class teaching, educators must acknowledge both the Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, and the paper author(s).
DI 1: Evaluation of Donor-Funded Information Technology Transfer Projects in China: A Lifecycle Approach
Erik Baark & Richard Heeks
- What is technology? What is technology transfer? [part 1]
- Describe the IT transfer lifecycle. [parts 1 & 4]
- What particular problems are there in transferring IT to developing countries? [part 3]
- Summarise the particular issues that arise at each stage of the IT transfer lifecycle. [part 4]
- What problems do donor agencies face in their involvement with IT transfer? [parts 5 & 6]
- What criteria should we use to evaluate IT transfer projects?
- What is technological capability? Why is it important to developing countries? What strategies can such countries adopt to increase their level of technological capability?
- How would technology transfer issues differ:
- if the recipients were private sector not public sector;
- if a donor agency were not involved;
- if the IT was being transferred to projects in an industrialised country?
- Does a 'lifecycle approach' add any value to our understanding of the IT transfer process?
DI 2: Romania's Hardware and Software Industry: Building IT Policy and Capabilities in a Transitional Economy
Mihaiela Grundey & Richard Heeks
- What were the pros and cons of Communist-era policies for the development of the Romanian IT industry? [parts 2 & 5]
- What is technological capability? Why is it important to developing and transitional countries? What strategies can such countries adopt to increase their level of technological capability? [parts 2, 3 & 5]
- How has Romanian IT policy changed since Ceausescu's day? And how has it stayed the same? [parts 2 & 3]
- Is Romania's IT industry currently in a sickly or a health state? [part 4]
- What lessons can other countries learn from Romania's IT policy experience? [overview]
- Explain why IT policy has and has not changed since the Communist era.
- Do developing and transitional countries need a national IT policy or should they 'leave it to market forces'?
- Should a developing/transitional country's IT industry be entirely public-owned, entirely private-owned, or some combination of the two? Justify your answer on the basis of Romanian experience.
- Can a developing/transitional country develop its IT industry without the assistance of multinational corporations? What pros and cons does MNC intervention bring?
- What IT policy recommendations would you make to the Romanian government?
- Which is more important to a developing/transitional economy: a hardware industry or a software industry?
- Where do you think Romania's IT policy and IT industry will be in 10 years' time?
- Summarise the current status of Indian software exports. [all parts]
- Review the Indian software industry's export skews. What is bad for the industry about these skews? What is good for the industry about these skews? Why to these skews occur? [all parts]
- What is 'international division of labour'? Describe the international division of labour in Indian software exports. [part C]
- Would you advise developing country governments to try to develop their software industry or not? If you would advise development, would you advise them to target software exports or the domestic market? If you would not advise development, what would you advise as an alternative use of resources?
- Make recommendations on future action for:
- a typical Indian software exporting company;
- the Indian government.
- What will the profile of Indian software exports be in 10 years' time?
- What problems arise in practice with participation as a technique? [all parts]
- How can we best address the problems with participation in information systems projects? [all parts]
- What benefits can participation bring to IS development?
- Are there other 'magic bullet' techniques - apart from participation - that are almost universally recommended for IS development and operation? What could you conclude about such techniques?
- We are very keen to find simple solutions and 'magic bullets' to address organisational and social problems which are often highly complex. Is this helpful or harmful?
- What - if anything - can industrialised countries learn from developing countries about information and information systems?
- Why does so much knowledge flow from industrialised countries to developing countries, and so little flow in the reverse direction?
- What contribution, if any, can ICTs make to poverty alleviation and enterprise development in low-income countries? [all parts]
- What insights can a systemic view of technology and of enterprise give us? [part A]
- What information do poor entrepreneurs need? What constrains them from obtaining and using such information? [part B]
- What differing viewpoints are found in the 'technology and development' domain? Why do they arise? What are the costs of the differing viewpoints? [part D]
- What priorities does this paper set for information, ICTs and development? How do these differ from the priorities set by those occupying position B in figure 4? [parts D & E]
- Do the issues identified in part B represent serious or only minor constraints?
- Divide into two groups. Each group has US$10,000 to spend on a village development project. One side should prepare, present and debate a case for spending the money on ICTs. The other side should prepare, present and debate a case for spending the money on an alternative priority (eg irrigation, shelter, production technology, etc).
- Locate and argue for your position in the figure 4 diagram.
- Which is better: an over-optimistic vision of a better world or a realistic understanding of the problems in achieving such a vision?
- Review the definition of 'organic information systems'. Does your knowledge of organic food or organic farming systems offer any further insights into sustainable development of information systems?
- What practical actions could be used to implement the priorities laid out in part E?
- Describe the different strategic approaches to software production that developing countries might adopt. [all parts]
- How feasible is each of the strategic approaches described? [all parts]
- Are software exports "24-carat or fools' gold"? [part 1]
- What differentiates developing country winners and losers in software production? [part 5]
- What are the benefits to developing countries of building up local software production?
- Have India's software successes helped or hindered other developing countries?
- You have been called in as a consultant. Make recommendations on future action for:
- a developing country software company
- a developing country government
- Do you agree that a future Microsoft will not emerge from a developing country?
- Are imported packages likely to penetrate all parts of a developing country's domestic software market or will some parts remain that are too specialised/localised for imports? What are the implications of your answer for software production in developing countries?
- Is government intervention necessary for software industry development, or should developing countries leave that development to market forces?
- Is 'vision' something that you are just born with, or is it something that you can develop?
Richard Duncombe & Richard Heeks
- What is a systemic view of ICTs? What insights can it offer? [part A]
- What kind of information systems do small enterprises in Botswana use? [part B]
- What kind of information do small enterprises in Botswana need? [part B]
- What ICT-related categories of enterprise exist in Botswana? What conclusions and recommendations are reached about them? [part D]
- As noted, some studies take a 'view that technology is the solution to development problems'. What is this paper's view about technology?
- Do you really need to understand so much about information in order to understand ICTs and their role?
- How is the status of small enterprises and of ICTs different in Botswana compared to your own country?
- Which is more important to a small enterprise: formal or informal information systems?
- Are the paper's conclusions valid and generalisable given its choice of country, enterprise groups, and research method?
- Based on this paper's findings, what recommendations would you make to: a) a small enterprise support agency operating in Botswana; b) the Botswana government?
- What are INGOs? How and why have they developed? [part A]
- What is 'learning from the field', and what value does it have for INGOs? [part B]
- How can INGOs improve their learning? What role do information flows and what role do ICTs have to play in enhancing INGO learning? [part C]
- How are ICTs changing the working practices of INGOs? [all parts]
- Are there any dangers for INGOs in their increasing use of ICTs? For example, what impact may ICTs have on INGO accountability?
- Where can ICTs have a greater impact: in a GRO or in an INGO?
- Are local-global links possible without ICTs?
- Exogenous ICT-based information systems receive much more attention and donor funding than indigenous non-ICT-based information systems. Why is this?
- How could you encourage the development of informal information systems in INGOs?
- How could you integrate the management (planning, implementation, operation, use) of ICT-based and non-ICT-based information systems in an organisation?
Richard Heeks, S. Krishna, Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay
- What is global software outsourcing and what forms can it take? [part A]
- Explain synching, sinking and the COCPIT framework. [part B]
- What 'synching strategies' are adopted within GSO relationships? To what extent did these strategies succeed in the cases described? [part C]
- What 'synching strategies' do Indian software developer firms adopt? [part C]
- What limits to synching typically arise within GSO relationships? What could be done to address those limits? [part D]
- What environmental factors affect GSO relationships? What could be done to address the difficulties those factors sometimes produce? [part D]
- How would synching help reduce the communication and coordination costs of a GSO relationship?
- Turn the clock back to 1996. What advice would you give to Sierra about its proposed software outsourcing to India?
- Who should take responsibility for synching a GSO relationship: the client or the developer?
- Why have clients been poor at recognising good practice within their Indian sub-contractors?
- What lessons could be transferred from this paper to a) information systems outsourcing more generally; b) software outsourcing within a single country?
Raul Roman & Royal D. Colle
- What is a telecentre? [part A]
- In your own words, summarise the ten themes around telecentre sustainability. [part B]
- What are the main obstacles to ICT access in telecentres? What role can training play in addressing these obstacles? [part C]
- More than just ICT connectivity needs to be provided if telecentres and similar units are to have a beneficial effect on communities. What more needs to be provided? [parts A-C]
- You live in a small rural community:
- How could telecentres make life better?
- How could telecentres make life worse?
- What aspects of life would they be likely to leave unaffected?
- If you had to select just three of the ten themes for telecentre sustainability as the most critical factors, which would you select, and why?
- What matters more in sustaining a community ICT initiative: a) national-level factors or community-level factors; b) technology-related factors or people-related factors?
- You are planning a community telecentre. How would you persuade local people to participate in the planning, implementation and operation of that telecentre?
- Other than training, how could you address the ICT obstacles described in part C of the paper?
DI 10a: The Economics of ICTs and Global Inequality: Convergence or Divergence for Developing Countries?
Richard Heeks & Charles Kenny
- What theories explain the relation between technology and growth? What are the current and future trends in relative diffusion of ICTs between developing and industrialised countries? [Part A]
- Why will ICTs have a divergent economic impact on developing and industrialised countries? [Part B]
- What should be developing countries' ICT investment priorities, and why? [Part C]
- Do the ICT successes of countries like India and China undermine the paper's arguments?
- Would an approach to the question of convergence and divergence from a sociological or political perspective produce a different conclusion?
- Where do mobile phones fit into the picture painted by this paper?
- From studies of ICT projects in developing countries, can you identify key elements of the total factor productivity that enables technology to be used efficiently?
- Identify two or three recent economic studies on ICTs and development. Do they support or contradict the conclusions drawn in the paper?
- Characterise the nature and extent of information systems success and failure in developing countries. [part A]
- Why - according to this paper - do developing country information systems succeed or fail? [parts B & C]
- What are the archetypal design-reality gaps? Why do they arise? [part C]
- What can be done to increase the success rate of developing country information systems? [part D]
- Whose design and whose reality does the creation of design-reality gaps encompass?
- Are the seven ITPOSMO dimensions truly 'necessary and sufficient' to explain information systems change in developing country organisations?
- Identify a fairly detailed information systems case study from a developing country. Apply the ITPOSMO/design-reality model. Does the model help to explain success or failure of this IS?
- Can you envisage other archetypal design-reality gaps that might affect the domain of information systems in developing countries?
- Identify other explanations for information systems success and failure. How do they compare with the model presented in this paper?
- Identify other recommendations for increasing IS success rates or decreasing IS failure rates. How do they compare with the recommendations presented in this paper?
- If you are familiar with an organisation in a developing country, which, if any, of the part D recommendations would be feasible and desirable in that organisation?
- What can the North learn from the IS experiences of the South?
Richard Heeks & Brian Nicholson
- Why should developing and transitional economies (DTEs) target software exports? [part A]
- Summarise the historical and statistical similarities and differences between the '3I' software-exporting nations. [part B]
- What is the 'Software Export Success Model' (SESM), and how has it been developed? [part C]
- How well do the three 'second-tier' software-exporting nations match up to the SESM? [part D]
- Summarise the key recommendations for software-exporting nations deriving from the SESM. [part E]
- Is it appropriate to include Israel and Ireland in a paper on 'developing and transitional economies'? What impact might inclusion of these two countries have on the validity of this paper's analysis and conclusions?
- How broad and how credible is the base of evidence used to develop the SESM?
- Identify a seventh DTE software-exporting country, and analyse its strengths and weaknesses against the SESM. What recommendations would you make to government officials in this country for future software export sector development?
- Divide into two groups. One group should prepare and present arguments in favour of one or both of the following propositions. The other group should prepare and present arguments against:
- "Software exports should be a key focal sector for developing and transitional economies in the 21 st century."
- "Developing and transitional economy governments should actively intervene to support the development of their national software export sector."
Richard Duncombe & Richard Heeks
- What is ethical trade? [part A]
- Why has ethical trade arisen? Who is involved in ethical trade? [part A]
- What role does information play in ethical trade systems? In what ways may ethical trade regulatory information systems differ from one another? [part B]
- What role may ICTs play in ethical trade? [part C]
- What key information- and ICT-related issues are relevant to ETRIS? [parts B & C]
- What is self-regulation, and how does it relate to ethical trade and to ethical trade's information and ICT issues? [part D]
- Select an ethical trade issue (e.g. child labour, union recognition, fair pay, workplace safety, etc). Then:
- Identify key stakeholders who would be involved in the monitoring and control of this issue.
- Design an information system that would capture, process and output relevant data.
- Identify what role ICTs could play in the information system.
- Identify an ethical trade (or, failing that, a fair trade) Web site. Treat it as an ethical trade regulatory information system (ETRIS) and then:
- Map out an overview picture of its ethical trade data content, and identify what data quality issues might affect this content.
- Answer the other ETRIS evaluation questions as best you can for the Web site.
- Evaluate the site in two other ways: in relation to the stakeholders it involves (as data sources or processors or recipients); and deciding whether it provides a 'monitoring' or a 'monitoring and comparison' information system.
- Consider what value - if any - ICTs have brought to this ETRIS.
- Finally, draw some overall conclusions about the site as an ETRIS.
- Web-enabled systems are often said to have three initial chronological stages: publishing (one-way provision of data); communication (two-way, interactive development of information); and transactions (conducting trade/service processes online). What can each of these offer to ethical trade? What challenges/issues might they raise?
- Discuss the pros and cons of ICT-enabled disintermediation vs. ICT-enabled reintermediation in the provision of ethical trade data and ethical trade services to consumers.
- The paper mainly discusses information in the operation of producer-focused ethical trade initiatives. But what role does information play in other aspects of ethical trade, e.g. in the planning of ethical trade initiatives, and in advocacy work? Can you develop any informational models or issues for these 'other aspects'?
- The Internet is - in many ways - a self-regulatory system. What implications might this paper raise for governance of the Internet?
There is no educators' guide to this paper because of its length.
DI 15: Building Iran's Software Industry: An Assessment of Plans and Prospects Using the Software Export Success Model
Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay
- Describe the research approach used in this study. [parts A-B]
- What is the 'Software Export Success Model' (SESM)? [part C]
- How well does Iran match up to the Software Export Success Model? [parts D & E]
- What must Iran do in order to become a successful software-exporting nation? [part F]
- Were there elements of the Software Export Success Model that were not applicable to Iran and/or were there elements missing from the Model that were found in Iran? [part F]
- Is it appropriate for Iran to dedicate significant resources to development of its software sector?
- What impact might a software sector - particularly software exports - have on Iranian development?
- How does Iran's history and its regional location affect the prospects for software exports?
- Consider the suggestion that China could be a good exemplar for Iran to follow: how similar and how different are those two countries?
- What is your overall conclusion about Iran - is it likely to be a successful software exporter or not?
- What are the implications of the Iranian case for other developing/transitional economies?
Sarah Cummings, Richard Heeks & Marleen Huysman
- Why is knowledge important to development? [part A]
- What role can online networks play in generating knowledge for development? What issues arise in such networks? [part B]
- What is social capital, and how applicable is it as a concept to online development networks? [part C]
- What criticisms can be levelled at social capital as a development-related concept? [part D]
- What models can be used to characterise social capital in online networks? [part E]
- Outline the proposed framework for analysis of social capital in online development networks. [part F]
- How could an understanding of social capital help you to manage an online development network, and to make that network produce knowledge for development?
- Has the proposed framework addressed issues that arise in online development networks, and criticisms of social capital?
- Reflect on your own experience online. Is this a good way to produce knowledge? Is social capital better or worse in virtual as opposed to 'real' networks? From your answers, what conclusions can you draw about online development networks?
Su-Ying Lai, Richard Heeks & Brian Nicholson
- What kind of project was used for this case study? [part A]
- What are 'uncertainty' and 'coordination' in software projects? How are they related? [part B]
- What types of uncertainty and coordination were found in the case project? [part C]
- On the basis of the case evidence, what recommendations would you make to the manager of a global software development project? [part D]
- What limitations does the research method described in this paper have?
- Do uncertainty and coordination tell us all we need to know about global software project management?
- How might uncertainty and coordination issues differ if the developers had been based in the US and UK, rather than the UK and India?
- How might the findings differ for i) a larger project, and ii) a two-site rather than seven-/eight-site project?
- Turn the clock back to early 2002. What advice would you give to Company A about the management of its software development project?
- Will truly virtual global software teams ever be possible?
- Describe the notion of e-readiness in general and in this study in particular (Introduction)
- Analyse the assumptions embedded in the research methodology and its strengths and weaknesses (Parts A & B)
- Explain the relationship between e-readiness and e-commerce success (Part C)
- What must businesses in developing countries do to achieve greater e-commerce success? (Parts D & E)
- What must governments and other institutions in developing countries do to facilitate e-commerce success? (Parts D& E)
- Is the notion of e-commerce for development just technology-driven hype or does it have real value for developing countries?
- What impact does a country's level of e-readiness have on e-commerce success?
- In view of the dot.com crash, should businesses in developing countries continue investment in e-commerce projects?
- How does the diffusion of e-commerce in industrialised countries affect businesses in developing countries?
- How does the diffusion of e-commerce in developing countries affect businesses in industrialised countries?
- Identify a real-world organisation that has adopted e-commerce. Analyse it to draw out the factors that affect its e-commerce success and compare your findings with the findings in the paper. Are they comparable?
- How specific to, or generalisable from, South Africa do you think the findings presented here are?
- Discuss the research model and suggest ways to improve it. Are there variables that are included in the model that should not have been, or others that should have been included but are missing from the model?
- How is the enterprise information system defined in the context of this study? [part A]
- What are the reasons given for adopting a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection? [part B]
- Why is it important for SMEs to move from informal to formal information systems? [part C]
- What factors affect the formalisation of IS in SMEs? [part D]
- Some studies take a view that information represents a critical resource for enterprise development. What is this paper's view about the role of information?
- Why are external (business) linkages critical for enterprise development?
- How is the use of ICTs by SMEs different in Botswana compared to your own country?
- Which is more important to a small enterprise: formal or informal information systems?
- Are the paper's conclusions valid and generalisable given its choice of country, enterprise groups, and research method?
- Based on this paper's findings, what recommendations for action would you make to: a) a small enterprise support agency operating in Botswana; b) the Botswana government?
DI 20: ICT Initiatives, Women and Work in Developing Countries: Reinforcing or Changing Gender Inequalities in South India?
Shoba Arun, Richard Heeks and Sharon Morgan
- What is the relationship between gender, ICTs and work? [part A]
- What contextual factors may impact the two cases described? [part B]
- What has been the impact of the TechnoPark ICT project? [part C]
- What has been the impact of the Kudumbashree ICT project? [part D]
- What main lessons can be drawn from the two contrasting approaches to ICT projects? [part E]
- Can ICTs be part of the solution to gender inequality?
- Is it reasonable to draw general conclusions from just two case studies based in a single state in India?
- You are a consultant asked to give advice to an NGO that wants to use ICTs to promote women's development. What advice would you give?
- Can you draw any lessons from the paper about globalisation?
- Given that government is strongly shaped by the prevailing socio-cultural context, can it really be any better than the market/private sector at addressing gender relations?
- Are there any ways in which men may be more disadvantaged than women by ICTs?
H. Abimbola Soriyan and R. Heeks
- Summarise the profile of the Nigerian software industry [parts A-C]
- Which strategic position does the Nigerian software industry occupy on the quadrant model? [part D]
- Should Nigeria give priority to its software sector, or to other sectors?
- Can Nigeria become another "India" in software terms?
- If you were head of a software company in Nigeria, what strategic direction would you take, and why?
- If you were the Nigerian government minister with responsibility for software, what policy actions would you adopt, and why?
- What lessons can be drawn from the Nigerian experience for other developing countries?
- What are the dominant beliefs about the role of e-commerce in developing countries? [Introduction]
- Identify and discuss the main theories that underlie e-commerce benefits in general and in developing countries in particular. Identify any assumptions embedded in the theories. [Part A]
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of perception-based measures in assessing e-commerce benefits? How valid are such measures? [Part B]
- Critically analyse and discuss the findings of this study. What lessons can you draw? [Part C]
- What must businesses in developing countries do to benefit more from e-commerce? [Part D]
- Is the notion of e-commerce for development just technology-driven hype or does it have real value for developing countries?
- Do you believe that lack of e-commerce use by businesses in developing countries affects the nature and structure of their relationship to global commodity chains?
- eCommerce can shift the power from sellers to buyers. Do you agree with this assumption? What are the implications of this assumption for encouraging more use of e-commerce by producing and exporting organisations in developing countries?
- Discuss the negative consequences of disintermediation to businesses in developing countries.
- Identify a real-world organisation that has implemented e-commerce. Analyse it to draw out the benefits that the organisation obtained from using e-commerce and compare your findings with the findings in the paper. Are they comparable?
- How specific to, or generalisable from, South Africa do you think the findings presented here are?
DI 23: Human Resource Development Policy in the Context of Software Exports: Case Evidence from Costa Rica
Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay
- What elements of national policy for software exports are particularly important? [Introduction]
- What HR strategies have leading software exporting nations adopted? [Part A]
- Describe the research approach used in this study. [Part B]
- What are the main HR issues facing Costa Rica's software industry? [Part C]
- What must Costa Rica do to strengthen human resources in order to become a successful software-exporting nation? [Part D]
- Does government policy on HR for software industry development really matter, or can this all be left to the private sector?
- What impact might a software sector - particularly software exports - have on Costa Rican development?
- Do you think Costa Rica's software industry should focus on English language skills and on the US market? Are there alternatives?
- Consider the suggestion that Costa Rica policy should focus on developing high spectrum skills. What feasible alternatives might there be?
- What are the implications of the Costa Rican case for other developing/transitional economies?
DI 24: Success and Failure of ERP Technology Transfer: A Framework for Analysing Congruence of Host and System Cultures
Alemayehu Molla and Ioannis Loukis
- Summarise the importance of culture in the global diffusion of information technology. [Introduction]
- Summarise the hard, soft and socio-technical conception of information systems generally and ERP systems specifically. [Parts A & B]
- What dimensions should be used for cultural analysis of ERP systems and their host organisations? [Part C]
- How can we measure ERP success and failure? [Part D]
- Summarise the system-host cultural congruence of the case study ERP system, and the impact of that congruence. [Part E]
- What must organisations in developing countries that are considering ERP implementation do to draw better value from their investment? [Part F]
- Evaluate the influence of culture on IT and IT's contribution to development.
- Critically evaluate the framework suggested in Figure 1. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How can it be improved?
- Identify a real world case organisation that has implemented ERP. Using the framework suggested in this paper, analyse the case to draw out the cultural dimensions and their impact on the process and outcome of ERP. Compare your findings with the example discussed in the paper.
- What factors other than culture contribute to ERP success and failure?
- What are the broader implications if the failure rate of ERP implementations in developing countries is higher than the failure rate in industrialised countries?
- Summarise why the software sector may be seen as important to developing countries. [Part A]
- Summarise Porter's theory of competitive advantage. [Part B]
- Does India's software industry demonstrate a competitive advantage? If so, why? If not, why not? [Part C]
- What is good and bad about using Porter's theory of competitive advantage to research development informatics issues? [Part D]
- Find further evidence to address the question of whether ICT production or ICT consumption are more important in development. Draw your own conclusions.
- Identify two other theories of competition and/or competitiveness that could be applied to issues of software sector development.
- With such a small share of the world market, can India's software industry truly be described as "globally competitive"?
- Can apparently simple models like Porter's diamond properly reflect real life?
- Can Porter's model really be called a "theory" or is it something else?
- Porter's model was formulated during the 1980s. Is there a sense in which it is now "past its sell-by date"?
- Identify at least three other development informatics research questions to which Porter's theory could usefully be applied.
DI 26: SMEs and E-commerce in Developing Countries: Frameworks for Assessing the Role of Change Agents
Richard Duncombe and Alemayehu Molla
- What are the limitations of past research on e-commerce in developing countries? [Part A]
- Discuss the main features of change agent and motivation ability theory. [Part B]
- Why are motivational factors seen to be of equal or greater importance for e-commerce development than organisational factors? [Part B]
- On what research base is the paper founded? [Part C]
- What frameworks can be used for understanding SMEs, e-commerce and change agents in developing countries? [Part D]
- Summarise the key contribution of the new frameworks to understanding of SMEs, e-commerce and change agents in developing countries. [Part E]
- Explain the potential of e-commerce for SMEs in developing countries and discuss the constraints to realising the benefits.
- E-commerce is likely to advantage developed countries and disadvantage developing countries: discuss.
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of using the change agent and motivation ability theories in the context of e-commerce in SMEs?
- Identify methodological weaknesses of the paper and suggest ways for improvement.
- Suggest realistic recommendations to help SMEs in developing countries benefit from e-commerce.
- Critically evaluate and discuss the three frameworks presented in this study. How can these frameworks be improved?
- Why is rural micro-enterprise important in developing countries? [part B]
- Outline what is meant by the "livelihoods framework". [part C]
- What roles are there for information and communication within the livelihoods framework? [part D]
- Use a livelihoods framework approach to summarise the potential for information and for ICTs in poverty reduction through micro-enterprise in Botswana. [part E]
- To what extent does the livelihoods framework represent a useful tool for understanding ICT and poverty? [part F]
- The application of the livelihoods framework suggests a limited role for ICT as a tool for poverty reduction through micro-enterprise. Suggest the reasons why this is the case.
- Why is it important to consider information resources ahead of ICT resources when analysing poverty reduction through micro-enterprise?
- It is suggested that we differentiate our approach to understanding ICT and poverty reduction according to the different 'income generating portfolios, vulnerabilities and capabilities' of those in poverty. Why is a differentiated approach important?
- To what extent should ICTs be prioritised as tools for poverty reduction within micro-enterprise development programmes?
- What other ICTs-for-development research questions could the livelihoods framework be applied to?
- What other frameworks could be utilised to evaluate the impact of ICTs for poverty reduction?
Martha Macias-Garza & Richard Heeks
- Give a cost/benefit analysis of CMM appraisal for a developing country software exporter. [Part A]
- Explain the model used to analyse risk and change. [Part B]
- What were the main initial sources of risk for CMM appraisal in Softtek? [Part C1]
- What organisational changes were undertaken to support CMM appraisal? [Part C2]
- What overall messages does the paper give about CMM appraisal and about the design-reality gap model? [Part D]
- Overall, if you were advising a different offshoring or nearshoring firm in a developing country, would you recommend attempting CMM appraisal?
- What are the dangers of undertaking change initiatives in a software firm that are propelled by overseas, external drivers rather than by internal drivers?
- There are few, if any, signs within the case study of "traditional" developing country issues. Why is that?
- What specific issues face nearshoring and offshoring software firms in relation to software process improvement appraisal?
- Look at one of the cited papers that takes a factor-based approach to understanding software process improvement as an organisational change (Stelzer & Mellis 1998, Dyba 2000, Jakobsen et al 2003). Is this type of approach to analysing change better or worse than the design-reality gap approach?
- Find a different but detailed individual case study of software process improvement and apply the design-reality gap model to it.
Abi Jagun, Richard Heeks & Jason Whalley
- What are the main informational and related characteristics of developing country micro-enterprise supply chains? [Part A]
- How might mobile phones impact developing country micro-enterprise supply chains? [Part A]
- In what ways is the aso oke sector similar to or different from the typical informational, process and structural characteristics of developing country micro-enterprise? [Part B]
- In what ways do stakeholders access mobile phones? [Part C]
- What has been the impact of mobile telephony on the process and structure of commerce in this particular micro-enterprise sector? [Part C]
- What would be the impact if the stakeholders in this case had reliable access to Internet-connected PCs in addition to mobile phones?
- Technology has always been associated with inequality. What sort of inequality are mobile phones causing in this case study – absolute inequality ("the rich get rich and the poor get poorer") or relative inequality ("everyone gets richer but the rich get even richer")?
- What are the pros and cons of using an in-depth interview and observational approach, as opposed to a large-scale survey, in gathering data on the impact of mobile telephony in developing countries?
- Why are mobile phones having so much greater an impact, so much more quickly, than fixed-line phones?
- As mobile phone penetration spreads, how do you think the impact picture will look in, say, ten years' time?
- What recommendations, if any, would you make to the following people on the basis of what you have read: a) an aso oke weaver; b) a manager in a mobile operator company; c) an official in the office of the telecommunications regulator?
- In what ways can we classify ICT-based enterprises in developing countries? [Parts A & B]
- How can we understand competition between developing country IBEs? [Part C]
- Compare the different ways in which impact of developing country ICT-based enterprises can be assessed. [Part D]
- How could you research the context of developing country IBEs? [Part E]
- What is the "enterprise lifecycle" and how can it be studied in the case of ICT-based enterprises in developing countries? [Part F]
- What other tools can be used to research developing country IBEs? [Part G]
- What is missing from this paper: what other analytical frameworks could be used to research ICT-based enterprise in developing countries?
- Many of the ideas and models are drawn from generic enterprise research, including generic research from industrialised countries. Does this present any problems for research specifically about IBEs in developing countries?
- Use one (or more) of the analytical frameworks to produce a short proposal for new research on IBEs in developing countries.
- Identify an example of research on developing country IBEs. Which, if any, of the listed analytical frameworks does it use?
- The paper says nothing about underlying ontology and epistemology. Does it at least provide a consistent implicit perspective on these?
- What are the main perspectives on the impact of telecentres? [Part A]
- What are the complexities/challenges underlying key concepts such as "community" [Part B], " evaluation" [Part C], "stakeholder" [Part D], "participation" [Part E] [plus Part F for all]
- How would you define participation in telecentre projects?
- Do you think community participation leads to telecentre success? Can you find any examples to support your argument?
- Is participation a paradoxical notion? That is, participation implies someone else “owns” the project. Should we be talking about ownership instead of participation? Or is participation a worthwhile and more realistic notion, given that telecentre implementers are likely to have more technical and managerial expertise than community members?
- Imagine you are in charge of a proposed telecentre project. How would you try to ensure its success?
DI 32: Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on "Gold Farming": Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games
- On the basis of key estimates, give an outline of the history and nature of gold farming at sectoral, enterprise and individual levels. [Part A]
- Outline some of the key economic features of gold farming. What economic frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part B]
- Outline some of the key features of gold farming exposed by industrial sociology. What industrial sociology frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part C]
- Outline some of the key features of gold farming exposed by enterprise schema. What enterprise frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part D]
- What do we know about the developmental impact of gold farming, and how might we analyse it further? [Part E]
- What can we learn about gold farming from the viewpoint of perception and discourse? What can gold farming tell us about relations between the virtual and the real? [Part F]
- What key elements might we identify for a future research agenda on gold farming? [Part G]
- Could gold farming be a chimera; a figment of the imagination or, at least, far smaller in reality than its online appearance?
- What other examples of "cyber-work" can you identify that could be done in developing countries: ie work done online? What other examples of "liminal ICT work" can you identify in developing countries; ie ICT-based work that is around or below the threshold of what is socially-acceptable and/or legally-permitted.
- Which of the analytical "lenses" offered would you use for gold farming research, and why?
- Undertake content, traffic and ownership analysis of a set of gold farming web sites. What do you conclude?
Chris Westrup & Saheer Al-Jaghoub
- What roles for the nation state are proposed in the literature? [Part A].
- What research methods were used here, and why are they particularly appropriate for study of national ICT policies and initiatives? [Part B].
- What key features have shaped the Jordanian polity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries? [Part C].
- What are the key features of Jordan's REACH initiative? [Part D].
- What key issues are raised in analysing Jordan's attempts at ICT-enabled development? [Parts E & F].
- If you were the government minister in charge of a small developing state's ICT-enabled development policy, what lessons would you draw?
- Would you advise Jordan to have kept on with REACH or to have abandoned it and looked for non-ICT-based development priorities?
- Would there be either a possibility or a benefit of a more "autarchic" ICT-enabled development path that sought to focus on local actors, and to break away from global flows and global actors?
- How can you create ICT-related state institutions with "embedded autonomy"?
- Analyse the role of the US and US organisations in the outcomes of REACH. What conclusions would you draw for other developing countries?
Yingqin Zheng & Richard Heeks
- How might writings on information systems/society and developing countries be characterised … and criticised? [Part A]
- How can structuration theory be applied to create a model of information culture? [Part B]
- Describe the three components of information culture – literacy, openness, and norms – in China. [Part C]
- What conclusions can we draw about information culture and developing countries? [Part D]
- Does the addition of ideas from a "heavyweight" theory like structuration theory really add anything to the argument of the paper?
- Is there really such a thing as "information culture"? What forces of information culture, if any, impact your behaviour?
- What does the paper seek to extrapolate from the China fieldwork to other developing countries? How legitimate is such extrapolation?
- Imagine you are project manager of a forthcoming ICT4D project. What priorities and actions might the notion of "information culture" suggest to you?
- What are the key concepts of postcolonial theory as described by this paper? [Part A].
- What main messages emerge in applying postcolonial theory concepts to analysis of telecentres? [Part B].
- What are the limitations of applying the theory to the concept of telecentres? [Part C].
- Could postcolonial theory be applied to other ICT for development initiatives and if so, how?
- Identify some examples (either from your own experience or from telecentre literature) to illustrate Bhabha's notion of hybridity and palimpsests applied to telecentres.
- What practical recommendations for ICT policy or for telecentre implementation might emerge from postcolonial theory?
- Will application of this academic theory tell us anything we could not find out without the use of theory?
- How would you design telecentre evaluation research that did "let the subaltern speak"?
Richard Heeks & Alemayehu Molla
- What are the key questions and models and impact outcomes that guide ICT4D impact assessment? [Overview Part 1].
- How can we classify different approaches to ICT4D impact assessment? [Overview Part 2].
- Select and summarise one of the impact assessment frameworks [Frameworks section].
- Select an item of ICT4D literature (not summarised in the Compendium). Can you analyse which elements of the ICT4D value chain apply to this literature item?
- If you were going to choose a framework to assess the impact of ICT4D, what selection criteria would you adopt?
- Identify at least one missing framework, not presented in the Compendium, which could be used for ICT4D impact assessment.
- Identify an ICT4D impact assessment (not summarised in the Compendium). Summarise it using the "Examples of Use" single-page format.
- The frameworks are presented for ICT4D project impact assessment. Which, if any, might be used for ICT4D policy impact assessment?
- Does anyone ever really take notice of ICT4D impact assessment findings? What are the implications of your answer?
DI37: Mobile Phones and Financial Services in Developing Countries: A Review of Concepts, Methods, Issues, Evidence and Future Research Directions
Richard Duncombe & Richard Boateng
- Why is m-finance research worth investigating? [Section A].
- What categorisation frameworks can we use when overviewing m-finance research? [Section B]
- Describe the way in which past m-finance research was selected and analysed in the review. [Section C].
- Summarise the focus and issues found in past m-finance research. [Section D].
- How are conceptual approaches categorised in the review? ;How does the review differentiate the ‘depth of theorising’ of the conceptual approaches identified? What are the different research methods represented in m-finance research? [Section E].
- What are the key research gaps identified in m-finance research? What are some of the recommendations for future research directions in m-finance research? [Section F].
- In what other ways could m-finance research be approached?
- What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones for the delivery of financial services in developing countries? How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
- Why do you think, at this stage, this area of research is skewed towards design and adoption issues, rather than needs and impact?
- From amongst the theoretical approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) m-finance research? b) m-finance practice?
- How would you assess the methodological approaches of the studies surveyed?
- Should academic research drive the approaches of practitioners or should practitioners drive the research agenda?
- What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for m-finance research over the next five years?
DI38: Remoteness, Exclusion and Telecentres in Mountain Regions: Analysing ICT-Based "Information Chains" in Pazos, Peru
Richard Heeks & Laura León Kanashiro
- Why are mountain areas important, and what challenges do they face? What models can we use to understand the relation between ICTs and mountain communities? [Part A].
- Describe the research location, Pazos, and the ERTIC project that it was a part of. [Part B].
- In what ways was the Pazos telecentre used and not used; and by whom? [Part C].
- What support does the research offer for the resource movement and information chain models? What impact did ICTs have on remoteness and exclusion in this project? What recommendations for practice are made? [Part D].
- Is there actually anything special about studying ICTs in mountain areas as compared to ICTs in rural areas in general?
- Are there other ways of characterising mountain communities that would help explain the role of ICTs in those communities?
- If you were to undertake an impact study of a mountain-area telecentre, what research methods would you use, and why?
- Would the impact on the mountain community be better or worse if a) no charge was made for telecentre usage; b) no controls were placed on how the telecentre was used?
- Find some other case evidence on ICTs in mountain areas. Can you use the resource movement and/or the information chain models to analyse these cases?
- Find some other case evidence on ICTs in mountain areas. Putting this together with the Pazos study, what is your conclusion: are ICTs a "good thing" or a "bad thing" for mountain areas?
- Why is impact assessment (IA) of m-development currently relevant? [Part A].
- Why, for whom, and how, is impact assessment conventionally undertaken? [Part B1/B2].
- What type of impact and what level of assessment did the reviewed IA studies focus on? [Part B3/B4].
- What are the different IA research methods represented in m-development studies? [Part C].
- What are the key gaps in methodological approach? [Part C].
- What key "building block" choices to m-development IA researchers face? [Part D]
- In what other ways could m-development IA be approached?
- What is your own viewpoint on the relative merits of mixed method IA and purely participatory methods for assessing m-development interventions? How might your viewpoint affect any assessment you carry out?
- Why do you think, at this stage, this area of study is skewed towards information economics on the one hand, and assessment of social capital indicators on the other?
- From amongst the methodological approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) project level IA b) programme level IA; c) policy level IA?
- To what extent can academic research inform the requirements of practitioners for IA in m-development?
- What topics/approaches should be prioritised for m-development IA over the next five years?
DI40: Analysing the Mobile Telecommunications Market in a Developing Country: A Socio-Technical Perspective on Pakistan
Ping Gao & Adnan Rafiq
- Why research the telecommunications market in a developing country? [Introduction].
- What model is suggested for analysing the telecommunications market? [Part A].
- Summarise the development of the mobile telecommunications sector in Pakistan between 1990 and 2007. [Part B].
- What factors contributed to the development of the mobile telecommunications sector in Pakistan between 1990 and 2007? [Part C1].
- What conclusions can be drawn from comparing Pakistan's experience to that of other developing countries? [Part C2].
- What factors might the analysis framework described in Part A be missing?
- Out of the four factors identified in the analytical framework, which one would you argue is most important?
- If advising mobiles telecommunications policy makers in another developing country, what key recommendations would you make on the basis of this paper?
- What is the evidence from the current literature of uptake of m-payments services in Africa: give some examples [Section B].
- Why is an understanding of the way in which markets operate essential for the analysis of m-payments potential? [Section B].
- For the analysis of m-payments potential in Uganda, how does the article distinguish between: a) market-push and market-pull factors; and, b) drivers and constraints for change? [Sections B & C & D].
- The paper outlines four key constraints to change (Fig 2). Which might be: a) the most difficult; b) the least difficult to overcome? Explain why. [Sections E & F].
- What are the key factor(s) that determine potential for m-payments? [Section F].
- What are the factors that limit the market as a mechanism for delivering m-payment services?
- What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones for conducting payments in Africa? How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
- In what ways might the growth of m-payment services in Africa benefit or dis-benefit the poor?
- What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for m-payments research over the next five years?
- In what other ways could assessment of the potential for m-payments be approached?
- What is the justification for ICT4D? [Part A]
- Describe the identified chronology from ICT4D 0.0 to ICT4D 2.0. [Part B]
- What are the identified technological priorities for ICT4D 2.0? [Part C]
- What are the identified innovation models for ICT4D 2.0? [Part D]
- What changes to implementation will and should be made during ICT4D 2.0? [Part E]
- What are the identified worldviews impinging on ICT4D, and how should they be handled in ICT4D 2.0? [Part F]
- How is ICT4D 2.0 different from ICT4D 1.0? [Part G]
- Are we so busy trying to look forwards to the "next big thing" that we fail to notice what is actually around at present in ICT4D?
- Is the idea of ICT4D phases credible or not?
- What priorities would you identify for the future of ICT4D?
- Is the future for ICT4D mobiles or telecentres, mobiles and telecentres, or something else?
- Identify some ICT4D projects – do they represent pro-, para- or per-poor innovation?
- Where is your, or your group's, own disciplinary strength – computer science, information systems or development studies? What actions might you require in order to develop a more integrated perspective?
- What, if anything, might constitute "ICT4D 3.0"? Can we gain anything by trying to look so far ahead on the curve?
DI43: Internet Usage Under Authoritarian Regimes: Conviviality, Community, Blogging and Online Campaigning in Iran
Aghil Ameripour, Brian Nicholson & Michael Newman
- How might writings on information systems/society and developing countries be characterised? [Part A]
- Describe the components of Ivan Illich’s view of conviviality. [Part B]
- Explain the background to the research. [Part C]
- What role was played by Internet usage in the two case studies? [Part D]
- From the case studies and critique, what conclusions can we draw about Internet-based social networks, conviviality and developing countries? [Part E]
- Does the addition of ideas from Ivan Illich add anything to the argument of the paper?
- The case studies show that Internet-based social networks had some impact – what was this? What were the limitations of the capacity of the networks to inculcate change? What constrained the effects?
- Does the paper seek to extrapolate from the Iran fieldwork to other developing countries? How legitimate would such extrapolation be?
- Imagine you are involved in Internet policymaking in a developing country. What priorities and actions might the notion of conviviality suggest to you?
Julian M. Bass
- What is action research? How was the methodology used to develop and test the Maturity Model? [Part A]
- What is a maturity model? Describe the main features and levels of the Maturity Model presented in the paper? [Part B]
- What lessons can be learned from applying the Maturity Model in practice? [Part C]
- What limitations might have occurred due to use of an action research methodology?
- How could you evaluate and test the limits of applicability of a Maturity Model?
- How could you use the Maturity Model to develop an ICT strategy for an education institution?
- How broad and credible is the base of evidence used to develop the Maturity Model?
Ala'a Hawari & Richard Heeks.
- What is ERP and what are its overall pros and cons? [Part A]
- What models can be used to assess and explain the success or failure of ERP systems, and how do they build on earlier ideas? What research methods were used here? [Part B]
- Was this ERP system a success or failure: justify your response? [Part C]
- What were the design—reality gaps before and after implementation, and how do these help to explain the system outcome? [Part D]
- What practical recommendations can be made for Beta as a result of this design—reality gap analysis, and what might constrain their achievement? [Part E]
- How does the design—reality gap model move beyond previous work, and what are its practical implications? [Part F]
- Is ERP implementation still a current issue in developing countries, or has the focus of attention moved on to other systems?
- Is the design—reality gap model only relevant for analysis of IS in developing countries, or can it be used with industrialised country cases as well?
- The design—reality gap model is used here post hoc as an analytical tool. How could it be used during an IS project as a risk identification and mitigation tool?
- Do models like the one shown here have any real-world value, or are they just used by academics to try to boost their own profile?
- If you were an independent consultant advising a developing country firm, would you advise them to adopt ERP or not?
- Describe the types of informal learning taking place in the ICT4D examples given, and compare and contrast the different project actions and outcomes that occur in these projects. [Parts A, B & E]
- How would you critique the notion that development equates to empowerment? How does Sen's framework extend beyond empowerment? [Part B]
- What is pedagogy? How is it used to analyse informal learning? [Part B]
- In the two case studies, what are the forms and practices which encourage or discourage informal learning? [Part C]
- For each informal learning approach, what are the two key elements of practitioner advice you would highlight? [Part D]
- What do we mean by ICT4D2.0? How well do informal learning approaches fit with this notion? [Part E]
- Taking an ICT4D project that you know or have details of, analyse it using some of the notions of informal learning outlined in this paper. How would you change this project drawing upon informal learning ideas?
- Drawing on the paper, describe how you would go about researching how informal learning is occurring in an ICT4D project.
- Discuss why a project evaluation drawing on informal learning may not be accepted in the present development environment.
- Do you think that informal learning can be 'planned' or 'shaped' as suggested in this paper, or is it something that just happens based upon the culture, politics and other contextual factors of a project and its stakeholders?.
Matthew Walton & Richard Heeks.
- What does the paper argue to be the root causes of ICT4D project failure? [Part A1].
- What is a process approach to development? [Part A2].
- In what way could the four case projects be deemed successful? [Part B2].
- In what way to do the four case projects demonstrate aspects of a process approach? [Part B3].
- What is success and failure in a process approach, and how does the process approach contribute to these outcomes? [Part C1].
- What practical recommendations for ICT4D project managers flow from a process approach perspective? [Part C2].
- Can you find evidence from other sources of a connection between a process approach and project success rates? (And how is 'success' defined in these cases?)
- Is there some circularity in the research's deductive approach – defining the characteristics that are sought, and then "finding" them within the cases? How would an inductive research approach be different?
- Can you develop the ICT4D-project-as-wheel analogy further – finding elements that either support or undermine the analogy?
- What barriers would you likely face if you tried to introduce the process approach in an ICT4D project?
DI48: Understanding Mobile Phone Impact on Livelihoods in Developing Countries: A New Research Framework
- Why are mobile phones of growing importance to livelihoods in developing countries? [Parts A+C].
- By what means do mobile phones directly impact upon the assets of the poor? [Part A].
- Intermediation of assets can be both "passive" and "active". How are each of these terms defined in the paper? [Part B].
- Outline the livelihood strategies that mobiles can support. [Part C].
- What are some of the weaknesses in the traditional livelihoods framework for carrying out analysis of the use and impact of mobile phones? [Part D].
- Current research suggests both positive and negative impacts of mobile phone use on asset status. Suggest what some of these impacts are.
- The paper suggests that "information is the primary resource upon which mobile phones act". Why is it important to understand the role of information within livelihoods prior to specifying a role for mobile phones?
- Why is the term "passive diffusion" inadequate for understanding innovation processes that involve mobile phones?
- Mobile phone networks create new opportunities for livelihood diversification, as well as placing new demands on users. How is this changing our conception of "capitals" within the livelihoods framework?
- Adoption and use of mobile phones is market driven, which gives rise to significant inequalities of access. How is active innovation being used to overcome inequalities?
- What other new opportunities are being opened up for the poor through use of mobile phones, and what do you think are some of the dangers of mobile phone use in this context?
DI49: Women’s ICT Sector Employment in Developing Countries: Dualism of Rhetoric vs. Reality in the Case of Sri Lanka
- What are the typical gender skews seen in the ICT professions, and why are they seen to arise? [Part B].
- What are the key gender dimensions of the Sri Lankan ICT sector? [Part C].
- What are the gendered practices at work in the Sri Lankan ICT sector? [Part D].
- What are the institutional dualisms that shape the employment of women in the Sri Lankan ICT sector? [Part E].
- What is the way forward for ICT sector organisations? [Part F].
- Looked at overall, do you think the ICT sector presents more of a threat or more of an opportunity for women in developing countries?
- Imagine you are the CEO of an ICT company in Sri Lanka. What steps would you take to ensure greater participation of women in your workforce?
- Imagine you are a senior ICT policy-maker in Sri Lanka. What steps would you take to ensure greater participation of women in the ICT sector?
- Are there other examples you can identify of institutional dualism in the ICT sector – a tension between the traditional and the new, which create dualistic behaviours and impacts of inequality?
DI50: Mobile Phones for Agricultural and Rural Development: A Literature Review and Future Research Directions
- Why are mobile phones growing in importance for the delivery of agricultural and rural services in developing countries? [Section A]
- How does the temporal lifecycle model help to categorise the research, and what other categorisation frameworks are used in the review? [Section B]
- What does the mapping of the articles in Fig 1 suggest about the make-up of the research area? [Sections C & E1]
- How are conceptual approaches categorised in the review? How does the review differentiate approaches to theorising? What are the different research methods represented in M4ARD research? [Sections D & E2]
- What are the key research gaps identified in M4ARD research? What are the recommendations for future research directions? [Section E]
- What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones in agricultural and rural development in developing countries? How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
- Why do you think, at this stage, this area of research is skewed towards assessing outputs and impacts rather than assessing needs?
- From amongst the theoretical approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) M4ARD research? b) M4ARD practice?
- How would you compare the contribution of the quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches of the studies surveyed?
- What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for M4ARD research over the next five years?
- In what other ways could M4ARD research be approached?
Richard Heeks & Ryoung Seo-Zindy.
- What are social movements? [Section A]
- How can we characterise and critique the literature to date on ICTs and social movements? [Section B]
- How might actor-network theory offer a different perspective on ICTs and social movements? [Section B]
- What were the constituents and overall trajectory of the Iranian Green Movement actor-network? [Section D]
- From an actor-network perspective, what role do ICTs play in the development of a social movement network? [Section E]
- What is your own viewpoint about the role of ICTs in social movements? Can you find evidence to support that viewpoint?
- Find some additional items of literature on ICTs and social movements. Can you classify them on the basis of Figure 1? (If not, why not?)
- Identify a different and detailed social movement case study in which ICTs played a role. Can you identify moments of translation during the development of that social movement?
- Can ANT really offer some new insights on ICTs and social movements, or is it just a way of describing how a social movement forms and/or fades?
- Why would it be preferable to undertake a case study of ICTs and social movements using longitudinal methods and primary data?
- Taking a broad perspective on the future, are ICTs likely to make authoritarian regimes weaker or stronger?
DI52: Understanding e-Waste Management in Developing Countries: Building Sustainability in the Indian ICT Sector
Richard Heeks, Logakanthi Subramanian & Carys Jones
- What is e-waste and why is it seen as a problem for developing countries? [Section A]
- How can we characterise e-waste strategies and e-waste strategy determinants? [Section B]
- In what ways do e-waste strategies differ between very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector? [Section D]
- In what ways do e-waste strategy determinants differ between very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector? [Section D]
- Why do very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector differ in their e-waste strategies? [Section E]
- What should be done to improve e-waste management in the Indian ICT services sector? [Section E]
- Why has the narrative on e-waste in developing countries been dominated by stories about international trade in e-waste, and about informal sector processing of e-waste?
- Is the environmental management literature an appropriate starting point for conceptualising e-waste management? Are there other literatures that could or should be used instead?
- What other research methods could have been used to investigate e-waste management in developing countries?
- Do the findings described here depend too heavily on believing that what interviewees say about e-waste is true?
- If you were running an environmental NGO in India that was concerned about e-waste, how would you use the findings from this paper to inform your actions?
- What other key questions do we need answered about e-waste in developing countries?
- What is inclusive innovation? How can we conceptualise it? [Section A]
- What are the key stakeholders and processes involved in inclusive innovation? [Section B]
- Summarise what you see as the three key research priorities emerging from prior literature. [Section B]
- How were the research priorities presented in the paper produced? [Section C]
- Identify three significant characteristics of inclusive innovation today. [Section D]
- What does the paper identify as the research priorities for inclusive innovation? [Section D]
- Setting aside that provided in the paper, can you find evidence that the idea and/or practice of inclusive innovation is growing?
- What are the pros and cons of giving something a new label, like “inclusive innovation”?
- In what ways can inclusive innovation be seen as good and bad for socio-economic development?
- Given the research methods used, how reliable and how generalisable are the research priorities identified?
- Should inclusive innovation be a higher or lower priority than other topics in international development research?
- If you had a funding pot of US$300,000, what inclusive innovation topic would you research?
DI54: Understanding Urban Climate Change and Digital Infrastructure Interventions from a Resilience Perspective
- What different perspectives are used to view the issue of climate change and cities? What knowledge gap is argued to exist within these perspectives? [Section A]
- What are the key components of the systemic model presented? How, specifically, does it conceptualise resilience? [Section B]
- In what ways, typically, do urban climate change interventions strengthen and weaken community resilience? [Section C]
- In what ways, typically, do urban digital infrastructure interventions strengthen and weaken community resilience? [Section D]
- What are the argued values of a resilience approach? How might it be used in practice? [Section E]
- Is the notion of resilience just a passing fad, or does it represent an important long-term shift in the focus of development?
- How would you persuade donor organisations that resilience worth including in their development funding?
- The model offered is shown to be used in assessing the impact of ICT systems on community resilience. But could it also be used to assess the resilience of ICT systems themselves?
- In the long-term, are ICTs more likely to increase or decrease global resilience?
- What alternatives could be used to assess the value and impact of climate change and digital infrastructure interventions?
- What are the key benefits to taking a participatory approach to development projects? [Section B1]
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of participatory approaches in ICT4D projects? [Section B2]
- Consider the case studies. In what ways could each be described as achieving participation and in what ways have they fallen short? [Section C3]
- What new factors are identified as leading to greater sustainability of ICT4D projects? [Section C4]
- In what ways does the paper suggest that effective participation in ICT4D projects can lead to greater empowerment? [Section D]
- Imagine you are a practitioner. How would you use this framework when designing and implementing your own ICT4D project on the ground, and what obstacles do you think you would face?
- Discuss the relationship between participation and technological empowerment.
- Critique the revised analytical framework: what is missing, what assumptions does it make?
- Drawing on your own experience, can you develop the framework further – finding elements that are missing or that don’t match with your understanding of what constitutes success?
- In what ways is either individual or community empowerment linked to longer-term sustainability goals for ICT4D projects?
- What the main actors and processes involved in creation of the post-2015 agenda? [Section B]
- How important will the post-2015 agenda be? [Section C]
- What does text analysis suggest about the content of the post-2015 agenda? [Section D]
- How were trends in the development agenda identified? [Section E]
- What are the key trends in the development agenda? [Sections E & F]
- Why have those trends occurred? [Sections E & F]
- Is it too early to try to analyse the post-2015 agenda?
- Aside from the post-2015 process, what other forces and sources will be important in setting the future development agenda?
- What other sources and analysis methods could be used to analyse the current and changing priorities within international development?
- Which is more important, the static analysis of Section D or the dynamic analysis of Section E?
- Are there important terms and issues within development which are not identified by this analysis?
- Imagine you are running a national development NGO in a developing country. How could you use the contents of this paper to help set future priorities?
- Why use analysis of the post-2015 development agenda to shape development informatics research priorities? [Section A]
- How was the comparison undertaken between development informatics research and the post-2015 development agenda? [Section B]
- What development topics are already fairly well-covered in current development informatics research? [Section C]
- What development topics are under-represented in current development informatics research? [Section C]
- What are the five waves of development informatics research? [Section D]
- Is it too early to use the post-2015 agenda as a basis for setting development informatics research priorities?
- Aside from the post-2015 process, what other forces and sources will be important in setting the future research agenda for development informatics?
- If you approached this topic from the direction of informatics, rather than development, what would the picture of priorities look like?
- What could be done to make Development 2.0 the dominant narrative for development informatics research?
- Are there important research topics within development informatics which are not identified by this analysis?
- Imagine you are part of a small group of development informatics researchers. How could you use the contents of this paper to help set future priorities?
- How has the role of ICTs vis-à-vis poverty changed over time? [Section A]
- How can we understand the overall relation between ICTs and poverty alleviation? [Section B and Section D]
- What are the main impacts of ICTs on poverty as understood from an economic perspective? [Section C1]
- What are the main impacts of ICTs on poverty as understood from a livelihoods perspective? [Section C2]
- What are the main impacts of ICTs on poverty as understood from a capabilities perspective? [Section C3]
- What are the practical implications of the finding presented in this paper? [Section D]
- Find some other recent research relevant to ICTs and poverty. How does it relate to the findings summarised in the paper: support, extension, contradiction, etc?
- What other theories of poverty exist which could be used to understand the role of ICTs vis-à-vis poverty eradication?
- Would it make a difference if the paper talked about poverty reduction or poverty alleviation instead of poverty eradication?
- Imagine you are manager of an initiative delivering ICTs into base-of-the-pyramid communities. Which of the three perspectives would you select in order to assess the impact on poverty; and why?
- An earlier version of the paper divided the findings not by type of ICT use (‘other ICT uses’, ‘enterprise ICT use’ and ‘ICT sector’), but according extent of impact: ‘incremental’, ‘accelerated’, ‘profound’. Would you prefer that as a way to categorise poverty impacts?
- Why use analysis of the post-2015 development agenda to shape ICT4D policy and practice priorities? [Section A]
- How was the comparison undertaken between ICT4D policy/practice and the post-2015 development agenda? [Section B]
- What development topics are already fairly well-covered in current ICT4D? [Section C]
- What development topics are under-represented in current ICT4D? [Section C]
- What recommendations are given about future ICT4D structure, process and vision? [Section C]
- How does the map of ICT4D priorities differ from the table of ICT4D gaps? [Section D]
- Is it too early to use the post-2015 agenda as a basis for setting future ICT4D priorities?
- Is it justifiable to use WSIS+10 documentation as a proxy for all of ICT4D?
- Aside from the post-2015 process, what other forces and sources will be important in setting the future ICT4D policy and practice agenda?
- If you approached this topic from the direction of ICT, rather than development, what would the picture of priorities look like?
- What could be done to make Development 2.0 the dominant ICT4D narrative?
- Are there important ICT4D policy and practice topics which are not identified by this analysis?
- Imagine you are part of a small group of ICT4D strategists. How could you use the contents of this paper to help set future priorities?
- What are the two different components of digital research? How are they related by the “Lucas critique”? [Section A]
- What are the characteristics of big data? [Section B]
- What are the characteristics of agent-based models? [Section C]
- What are the opportunities of using e-science for development? [Section D]
- What are the challenges of using e-science for development? [Section D]
- What do you think is the most promising application of big data in the area of ICT4D?
- Which agent-based model would you create if you could quickly and easily set it up?
- Think of a development project with which you are familiar: what would be the key opportunities for e-science, and what would be the key challenges?
- How do you imagine science will work in 50 years from now, and what impact will that have on ICT4D research?
- What is inclusive innovation? [Section A]
- What justifies government intervention in inclusive innovation? [Section A]
- How is an inclusive innovation policy worldview different from a traditional innovation policy worldview? [Section B1]
- How are inclusive innovation policy objectives different from traditional innovation policy objectives? [Section B2]
- What key components should form part of an inclusive innovation policy? [Section B3]
- What processes and structures should be adopted for inclusive innovation policy? [Section B4]
- How would you persuade policy-makers in a developing country to develop an inclusive innovation policy?
- Which would you give highest priority to: improving inclusive innovation policy content, or policy process, or policy structure?
- Find a real-world example of an inclusive innovation policy. How similar / different is the content to that outlined in the paper? What conclusions do you draw?
- Find a real-world example of an inclusive innovation initiative. How did policy impact the initiative? What conclusions do you draw?
DI62: Measuring the Barriers to Big Data for Development: Design-Reality Gap Analysis in Colombia’s Public Sector
- What have been the shortcomings of many analyses of barriers to big data for development? [Section A]
- How is the design-reality gap model applied in this case? [Section B]
- Which are the most significant barriers to big data in Colombia’s public sector? [Section C]
- What should Colombia do to reduce the barriers to effective use of big data in the public sector? [Section D]
- Does big-data-for-development justify the excitement is has generated?
- If attention and resources are put into big data, what other issues should be given less attention and resources?
- What might be the priority application areas for big data in Colombia’s public sector?
- What other frameworks might be used to assess readiness for, or barriers to, big-data-for-development?
- If you were planning to use the design-reality gap model to assess barriers to big data, how would you apply it?
- What literature does this paper draw on? [Section A]
- What are the different ways in which development-related data injustice can be framed? [Section B]
- What are the mainstream perspectives on data justice that the paper describes, and how do they differ? [Section C]
- What are the four critiques of mainstream perspectives on data justice? [Section D]
- What are the three different ways in which structural data justice might be conceptualised? [Section E]
- What might be the action agenda to deliver structural data justice for development? [Section E]
- Is the idea of justice of any practical value to data-intensive development, or just an idea for armchair philosophers?
- Should we be more concerned with “information justice” than “data justice”?
- If you had to categorise the different types of data injustice that exist in relation to international development; what categories would you use, and why?
- To what extent does this paper engage with its “for development” component?
- Should structural data justice be the foundational perspective on data justice; or should it be some other perspective?
- Identify two practical actions you could take to try to strengthen data justice for development.
- Which paradigms are argued to be the past, present and future of the relation between ICTs and international development? [Section A]
- In what key ways is the relation between ICTs and development changing? [Section B]
- What does the digital development paradigm consist of? [Section C1]
- What overall patterns of change are argued to be seen under digital development? [Sections C2 & C3]
- Other than digital transformation, what issues are likely to arise under digital development? [Section C4]
- What policies will be needed under digital development, and how should they be developed and implemented?
- Is the idea of a “paradigm” for ICTs and development either credible or useful?
- Is there anything in the main ideas of the paper that is specific to the global South, or are these universal ideas?
- Are the changes outlined in the paper actually “transformations”, or do ICTs only ever actually make an incremental difference?
- Is competitive vs. cooperative the correct fundamental for understanding development, or is there a more appropriate set of logics? Or are logics, in fact, not the right foundation?
- The ideas in the paper claim to describe patterns of change under digital development. But what explains why those patterns occur?
- Are ecosystem, inclusion, sustainability and harm the right ways to think about the other aspects of digital development, or is there a better formulation?
- Are the digital policies described different from or the same as, traditional ICT policy formulations?
Rebecca Martin & Richard Duncombe
- What are the potential benefits of m-finance to low-income communities? [Section B]
- Why is there a lack of evidence showing the benefits of m-finance? [Section B]
- What are the three primary concerns which were identified by the donors and development practitioners in the online discussions? [Section D1]
- What are the four approaches put forward by the donors and development practitioners on how to tackle knowledge and financial literacy challenges? [Section D1]
- How is the deliberate use of over-the-counter (OTC) models of m-finance justified? [Section D1]
- What are the key secondary themes within donor concerns about m-finance? [Section D2]
- What misalignments between the needs of low-income communities and donors do the authors highlight in the paper? [Section E]
- Think about and discuss the relationship between m-finance and financial inclusion.
- Do you think it is necessary for social norms to change for development interventions such as m-finance to be successful?
- Why do you think there is a high volume of low-inactivity among low-income communities for the active use and uptake of m-finance?
- How do you think mobile money agents should be deployed in order to increase the success of m-finance programmes? (For example, what should their roles and responsibilities be? How might agents be best incentivised? How could fraudulent activity among agents be prevented?)
- Which would you give highest priority to: financial literacy or programme literacy?
- Aside from the best practices highlighted by the donors and practitioners in the discussions, what other best practices can you think of that may mitigate the challenges faced in implementing m-finance?
Ritam Sengupta, Richard Heeks, Sumandro Chattapadhyay & Christopher Foster
- What are the main domains and knowledge foundations within the literature on big data and development? [Section B]
- What are the key parameters of Stelcorp and its context? [Sections C & D1]
- What big data-related innovations has Stelcorp implemented? [Section D2]
- What value has big data delivered for Stelcorp? [Section D3]
- How have power and politics shaped the impact of big data in the Stelcorp case? [Section D4]
- What issues and conceptual frameworks does this case study suggest should be priorities when researching big data and development? [Section E]
- In what sense is this a big data case?
- Are there particular features of the electricity sector which shape the findings from this case study?
- How legitimate is it to draw conclusions on the basis of a case study with only eight interviews?
- What conclusions would you draw from this case for the implementation of “smart grid” applications?
- What advice would you offer to a big data practitioner on the basis of this case study?
- Which is most important in shaping the outcomes in this case: data, technology, or people?
- Identify a big data for development pilot research activity that uses one of the conceptual frameworks.
DI67: Digital Start-Ups in the Global South: Embeddedness, Digitality and Peripherality in Latin America
Gerardo Quinones, Richard Heeks & Brian Nicholson
- What are the main dimensions of discussion about digital activities and embeddedness? [Section B]
- How does the TEF conceive embeddedness? [Section B]
- What research methods were used as the basis for this research? [Section C]
- In what ways do the Latin American digital start-ups experience hybrid embeddedness? [Sections D & E]
- In what ways do the Latin American digital start-ups experience “Goldilocks embeddedness”? [Sections D & E]
- How do the digitality and peripherality of the Latin American digital start-ups impact their embeddedness? [Sections D & E]
- What types and impacts of embeddedness do the Latin American digital start-ups experience? [Sections D & E]
- What are the policy and strategy implications of the embeddedness of the Latin American digital start-ups? [Section F]
- Does the concept of embeddedness tell us anything more than simply, “context matters”?
- Is it important or valuable to research the embeddedness of developing country digital enterprises?
- What is the overall message here: that digital start-ups are like or unlike other start-ups?
- To what extent is the digitality of these digital start-ups investigated?
- Though it seeks to be comprehensive, does the Triple Embeddedness Framework omit some important aspects of embeddedness?
- Would the paper’s conclusions likely apply in other regions of the global South, or not?
Rumana Bukht & Richard Heeks
- What are the roots of emergence of the digital economy? [Section A]
- What are the different ways in which the digital economy has been defined? [Section B1]
- How does the paper argue the digital economy should be defined? [Section B2]
- How large is the digital economy? [Section C1]
- What do data suggest are some of the main features of the digital economy? [Section C2]
- What is the particular value and significance of using the word “digital” as a descriptor?
- Is there really such a thing as “the digital economy” or does it merely represent disparate phenomena with no commonality?
- Why do organisations keep coming up with new and different descriptions and definitions of ICT-related segments of the economy?
- What are the pros and cons of defining the digital economy as suggested in the paper vs. using the much wider scope (defined in the paper as the digitalised economy)?
- Does the digital economy in the global South deserve more or less attention than it currently gets?
- How would you improve measurement of the digital economy?
- What does the Heeks & Renken paper say about data justice? [Section A]
- What field evidence is the basis for this paper? [Section B]
- What are the three tests of a structural data justice model; and how are they used to revise the foundational SDJ model? [Section C]
- In what ways is the revised SDJ model compatible with a critical data studies perspective? [Section D]
- How can agency and capabilities be better-incorporated into the SDJ model? [Section D1]
- What is the “Data-Justice-for-Development Manifesto”? [Section D2]
- How useful is the idea of “data justice”?
- Are the tests and revisions proposed by the paper appropriate and important to understanding data-intensive development?
- Find a detailed study involving data and development. Can you apply the SDJ model to gain further insights? Are there further revisions to the model you feel are needed?
- Which is more important to understanding data-intensive development: structure or capabilities?
- Imagine you run a small rural development NGO. What might be the practical application of the “Data-Justice-for-Development Manifesto”?
DI70:Digital Economy and Digital Labour Terminology: Making Sense of the “Gig Economy”, “Online Labour”, “Crowd Work”, “Microwork”, “Platform Labour”, Etc
- What prime terms are suggested for researching platform-based outsourcing of digital tasks? [Section A]
- How were the terms identified and categorised? [Section B]
- Which are the most prevalent and most current terms relating to digital labour? [Section C]
- Which matters more in choosing a term: its prevalence or its currency?
- In selecting a term, what relative weight should be given to academic citation usage vs. social media usage?
- Are there important digital labour terms missed out from the analysis?
- Select a different focal topic relating to digital labour. Which term would you recommend using for this topic, and why?
- What are the positive and negative impacts of the digital gig economy in developing countries? [Sections B1 & B2]
- What would be the justification for intervening in the digital gig economy? [Section B3]
- What should a “decent digital work” set of standards consist of? [Section C1]
- What key issues will be faced in implementation of decent digital work standards? [Section C2]
- What is the research and practice agenda for the digital gig economy? [Section D]
- Is the digital gig economy large enough to justify attention from academic research?
- Do you agree with the view of global South workers that “the positives outweigh the negatives” for DGE work? Would you like a job as a DGE worker?
- Discuss the four different rationales – economic, legal, social, ethical – for intervening in the digital gig economy. Which of these do you feel is most important, and why?
- If you’ve not already done so, sign up for a DGE platform and see if you can obtain paid work. What conclusions do you draw about the findings of the paper?
- What actions could you take – either individually or collectively – to address the negative impacts of the digital gig economy?
Vanya Rakesh, Richard Heeks, Sumandro Chattapadhyay & Christopher Foster
- What are the basic parameters of BMTC and ITS? [Section A]
- What past digital systems have been used in relation to public transport in Karnataka? [Section B1]
- Who are the main actors involved with ITS? [Section B2]
- What are the main technical components of the ITS? [Section C]
- What resistance has been experienced to ITS implementation? [Section D]
- What value has ITS contributed at operational, tactical and strategic levels? [Section E]
- How has big data intersected with power and politics in relation to BMTC? [Section F]
- In what sense is this a big data case?
- Are there particular features of the transport sector which shape the findings from this case study?
- How legitimate is it to draw conclusions on the basis of a case study with only nine interviews?
- What conclusions would you draw from this case for the implementation of “smart transport” applications?
- What advice would you offer to a big data practitioner on the basis of this case study?
- Which is most important in shaping the outcomes in this case: data, technology, or people?
- What are the wider development implications of the shifts in power seen as big data is introduced?
DI73: Understanding the Development Implications of Online Outsourcing: A Study of Digital Labour Platforms in Pakistan
Fareesa Malik, Brian Nicholson & Richard Heeks
- What is the rationale for studying online outsourcing in developing countries? [Section A]
- What does current literature have to say about online outsourcing (in developing countries)? [Section B]
- What framework is used to address the research questions? [Section C]
- What research methods did the study use? [Section D]
- What are the main drivers to online outsourcing for marginalised groups in Pakistan? [Section E1]
- What barriers existing to online outsourcing for marginalised groups in Pakistan? [Section E2]
- What is the organisational and institutional context of online outsourcing for marginalised groups in Pakistan? [Section E3]
- What has been the livelihood impact of online outsourcing for marginalised groups in Pakistan? [Section E4]
- Is it really worth significant investment in online outsourcing, or will it always be just a marginal means of creating employment in developing countries?
- Does it matter what we call this: online outsourcing; gig work; digital labour?
- Are governments justified in providing special funding and programmes to support online outsourcing for marginalised groups?
- Does the fact that work comes specifically through platforms have an impact in this case?
- Is the work provided by digital platforms better or worse than the alternatives for the trainees in Pakistan?
- What other conceptual frameworks might be used to study online outsourcing for marginalised groups?
DI74: An Applied Data Justice Framework: Analysing Datafication and Marginalised Communities in Cities of the Global South
Richard Heeks & Satyarupa Shekhar
- How has the relation between data and urban development been developing in recent years? [Section B]
- What analytical model(s) does the paper propose? [Section B]
- What research methods did the study use? [Section C]
- What “data injustices” did the focal communities suffer? [Section C1]
- What was the impact of data-related processes in these initiatives? [Section D1]
- What was the impact on data representation and privacy of these initiatives? [Section D2]
- What were the developmental results of these initiatives? [Section D3]
- How were contextual factors impacting on, and impacted by, these initiatives? [Section D4]
- What was the overall impact of these initiatives on inequality? [Section E1]
- What other conceptual frameworks could be used to analyse these initiatives?
- Which is more important for slum communities: to be visible to external stakeholders, or to be invisible?
- Would anything important be missed if the structural data justice perspective was excluded?
- Select a different case study of datafication and re-analyse it using the Figure 1 model.
- Can data-related projects for marginalised groups ever hope to achieve transformational outcomes?
- Imagine you are planning a community mapping initiative in a developing country city. What lessons would you draw from this paper?