2010 Governing Strategic E-Government Research Planning: Concept for Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (Dissertation)


  • Type: Dissertation
  • Student: Melanie Bicking
  • Supervisors: Maria A. Wimmer, Klaus Troitzsch


The world in which we are living is turbulent, interconnected, multifaceted and fast-moving, thereby becoming increasingly global. From this, a complex system of issues, interrelations and interdependencies follows, which is difficult to deal with. Complexity leads to uncertainty in the prediction of developments that challenges strategic planning and governance, in particular in fields that are experiencing wide-ranging socio-economic impacts. Within this context, governments today recognise the increasing pressure to respond to an uncertain environment characterised by high competition and where information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a central role. ICTs are being used in order a) to provide citizens, companies and other customers of public administration access to information and services, and b) to support their own administrative processes within and between government agencies across constitutional jurisdiction and even beyond national borders. A good deal of effort in e-government research is put into providing adequate methodologies and tools to modernize governments.
Thus, e-government has become an important topic of research. Especially for the European Commission (EC) which has created focused funding mechanisms to spur the advancement of research and innovation with respect to specific issues of ICT in the public sector. For instance, online portals and e-services provision were topics investigated within the 5th Framework Programme (FP) of the EC. In the 6th FP, the EC focused on interoperability and electronic identification. Other targets were e-participation and pan-European service provision . Related programs co-funded by the EC are Modinis (i.e., good practice framework) or IDABC (i.e., interoperability among administrations, businesses and citizens) . Likewise, the American National Science Foundation (NSF) supports various branches to conduct research in digital government . There has been a shift from pure ICT implementation imperatives towards strategic imperatives in e-government and e-government research. Currently, the 7th FP of the EC concentrates its efforts towards on-line collaborations and dynamically participative 'eSociety'. Overall aim of FP7 is on e-governance including improved empowerment and engagement of civil society in policy making processes and more efficient collection of feedback to continuously improve governance. Therefore, the EC is funding the eParticipatory Preparatory Action and ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling (i.e., Objective 7.3 of ICT Work Programme 2009-10) . To encourage the use of ICT and facilitate the development of the information society, the EC launched the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) . However, in the center of current EC research efforts is the involvement of stakeholders via online means to increase online consultation and open collaboration.
In the private sector many methods for futures research and strategic planning concerning ICT research and development exist, but the public sector lacks resources in those same areas. The project eGovRTD2020 co-funded by the EC under the 6th FP of information society technologies (IST) adopted a research methodology that links scenarios and roadmapping for strategic planning of ICT towards the special requirements of the public sector by integrating a multi-disciplinary framework (Wimmer, 2002). This methodology takes into account the importance of gathering information about today and the future and to integrate it into a common framework. The analysis of this data is crucial for assuring the quality of the outcomes needed when applying this methodology. In particular, a qualitative research design that focuses on multiple units of analysis is challenging for data analysis. No sufficient tool for analysis was found after scanning the landscape of existing options for Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS). None of the tools met the special requirements needed to support this methodology suitably. The problem scope described above, as well as the gaps that exists with respect to tools and methodologies was the motivation for and the proposal of this doctoral thesis. The overall objectives of this doctoral thesis are twofold:
(1) To scientifically ground the eGovRTD2020 roadmapping approach and findings of the eGovRTD2020 project in order to guide strategic planning of e-government research; and
(2) To conceptualise a structured way to conduct qualitative data analysis in policy-oriented science and technology roadmapping.
The main purpose of this doctoral thesis is to conceptualise CAQDAS to support strategic planning of e-government research investments by setting e-government research priorities to achieve certain goals or avoiding certain devlopments. The introductory chapter positions this doctoral thesis within the wider context of e-government as a research domain. This lays the foundation to investigate the relevant scientific methods for futures research and strategic planning and provide evidence for the eGovRTD2020 policy-oriented science and technology roadmapping (PSTRM) approach. Thus, the doctoral thesis establishs a trustworthiness of scientifically valid work. This research enlarges the spectrum of e-government methodologies by scientifically grounding the eGovRTD2020 PSTRM approach. This research establishes the relevance of scientifically grounding the eGovRTD2020 PSTRM approach and using the same methods for other situationsby analysing the EC-aided e-government R&D planning process. But a significant gap still remains; creating an appropriate strategy for qualitative data analysis to support the PSTRM method. The doctoral thesis aims to investigate respective cases of PSTRM in practical use in order to determine the possible approaches for the PSTRM methodology and to advance the general methods based on lessons learned. In addition, the need for ICTs to support the strategic planning of e-government research will be stressed and a respective strategy for CAQDAS will be presented. Although this doctoral thesis focuses on facilitating strategic planning of e-government research at the European level, the concept proposed is an inherently flexible approach in order to be applicable in different contexts and scalable to different levels.