Holistic Evaluation of the Roles of ICTs in Regional Development

Holistic Evaluation of the Roles of ICTs in Regional Development

Chris Keen (University of Tasmania, Australia), Dean Steer (University of Tasmania, Australia) and Paul Turner (University of Tasmania, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch004
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Regional Australia continues to be the recipient of public programs premised on assumptions about the benefits of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) related development, at the same time as it is experiencing a reduction in basic services and problems associated with the digital divide. From a research perspective, these circumstances pose challenges on how to evaluate meaningfully the impacts of ICTs on regional development. These challenges are compounded by the considerable confusion that exists over what is meant by regional development, how it can be achieved, and how to measure and evaluate the role ICTs play in reviving and sustaining regional communities. The exploratory research reported in this chapter examines the issues surrounding what is meant by ICT-related development in a regional context. It also explores the usefulness of multiple measures, as opposed to single measures, to describe what in reality is a very complex process. In this context, the chapter outlines the preliminary development of, and the rationale behind, a holistic approach for evaluating the role of ICTs in regional development, based on insights generated from ongoing research in Tasmania. The role of ICT … in economic growth and social change has received considerable attention in recent years [but] … reliable and comprehensive indicators are needed to track developments in new information technologies and understand their impacts on our economies and societies. (OECD, 2002, p. 3)

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