Behind the Scenes: Research Methodology and Analytical Framework

Behind the Scenes: Research Methodology and Analytical Framework

Ricardo Gomez (University of Washington, USA), Kemly Camacho (Cooperativa Sulá Batsú, Costa Rica) and Elizabeth Gould (University of Washington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch010
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This chapter describes how the global Landscape Study was designed and carried out. The Landscape Study informs all the findings and results presented in this volume. The authors describe here the criteria for the country selection and selection of local research partners in each country, the procedures and instruments for data collection, the way we analyzed the data, and some of the limitations of the study.
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Country Selection

This international study aimed to understand the landscape of public access to ICT in a variety of contexts around the world, focused on “middle of the pyramid” (Prahalad, 2006) countries, and especially on countries with existing public library systems. The country selection went through a series of filters based on demographic data, feasibility criteria, and ranking criteria,2 as described in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Country Selection Criteria

The first filter used publicly available demographic data to reduce the total 237 countries and territories around the world to a subset of 90 countries:

  • Remove all small countries with populations under 1 million, as well as countries with most population (China and India)

  • Remove all countries with highest per capita income (over $11,116)

  • Remove all countries with lowest Human Development Index (HDI below 0.5)3

The second filter used publicly available data to exclude countries where freedom of expression or political unrest could undermine conducting independent research, bringing the subset of countries to research down to 74:

  • Remove countries with limited freedom of expression (Freedom House Index over 6.5)4

  • Remove countries with political unrest or security issues (US Department of State travel advisories)5

The third filter used publicly available data to rank countries according to needs and readiness criteria. This filter involved creating two composite indices using available data as proxies to help measure what we called information needs and readiness in each country, particularly in relation to ICT use.

  • Needs criteria:

Inequality: Income inequality was used as a proxy indicator for measures such as geography, ethnicity, and gender inequalities, where greater inequality suggested greater potential need for public ICT access (Gini index (2006) from United Nations Development Program6).

ICT usage: Internet users per capita was used as a proxy indicator for ICT use within a country, where lower ICT usage indicated greater potential need for public ICT access (Data from CIA World Factbook (2007)7).

ICT cost: Lowest broadband cost as a percentage of monthly income was used as a proxy indicator for ICT cost, where higher ICT cost suggested greater potential need for public ICT access (Data from International Telecommunications Union’s World Information Society Report (2006)8).

  • Readiness criteria:

Politics: Eight expert-survey-based indices were used, including: government prioritization of ICT, importance of ICT to government’s vision of the future, government success in ICT promotion, intensity of local market competition, freedom of the press, corruption perceptions, government effectiveness, and regulatory qualities, where each index served as a proxy indicator to evaluate multiple dimensions of political support and policies, while also suggesting greater potential readiness for public ICT access (Listed in order, data from: World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report (2006),9 Transparency International (2007),10 World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators (2006)11).

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