Democratizing data & decision making

Research Question

What are local government agencies and departments doing to enable community members to use open data for making decisions?

Research Problem(s)

  1. While making open data available is a great first step for agencies, it doesn’t mean that they have made it accessible and usable for everyone.
  2. I think that there is a gap in how local governments provide data to the public so they can analyze it and make informed decisions.
  3. I believe that there are ways that agencies can successfully enable the public to use open data through training and community partnerships.
  4. I think that information technology teams can contribute significantly to community enablement and that their participation is critical to support less resourced agencies and organizations.

Research Plan/Methods

  1. Literature review to see what research has been done on enabling the public to use open data for decision making. Learn where I can contribute new knowledge on how to increase the use of open data by the public.
  2. Identify and Interview people involved with initiatives across the US where local government agencies are actively engaged with community members to support their use of open data. From these interviews I want to learn what drives successful community enablement and open data utilization.
  3. Synthesize what I learn to develop a plan for participatory action research in partnership with a King County agency or organization in the Puget Sound region for a data related initiative to validate new ways of enabling people to use government data. This will also give me the opportunity to contribute to my community by developing technical and analytic capacity.

Research Outcomes

The products of my research will result in a dissertation by portfolio consisting of research articles and an educational component about community engagement and enablement on open data.


Feminist Theory

  1. (hooks 2000)
  2. (Cottom 2018)

Critical Data & Technology

  1. (Reardon and TallBear 2012)
  2. (Lewis et al. 2018)
  3. (Noble 2018)
  4. (Criado-Perez 2019)
  5. (D’Ignazio and Klein 2020)
  6. (Madianou 2019)
Cottom, Tressie McMillan. 2018. Thick: And Other Essays. United States: The New Press.
Criado-Perez, Caroline. 2019. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. New York: Abrams Press.
D’Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren F Klein. 2020. Data Feminism.
Frederickson, George. 2005. “The State of Social Equity in American Public Administration.” National Civic Review 94 (4): 31–38.
Guy, Mary E., and Sean A. McCandless. 2012. “Social Equity: Its Legacy, Its Promise.” Public Administration Review 72: S5–13.
hooks. 2000. Where We Stand: Class Matters. New York ; Routledge.
Lewis, Jason Edward, Nick Philip, Noelani Arista, Archer Pechawis, Suzanne Kite, and Catherine Ahearn. 2018. “Making Kin with the Machines.” Journal of Design and Science.
Madianou, Mirca. 2019. “Technocolonialism: Digital Innovation and Data Practices in the Humanitarian Response to Refugee Crises.” Social Media + Society 5 (3): 205630511986314.
Noble, Safiya Umoja. 2018. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press.
Pastor, Manuel, Veronica Terriquez, and May Lin. 2018. “How Community Organizing Promotes Health Equity, and How Health Equity Affects Organizing.” Health Affairs 37 (3): 358–63.
powell, j.a. 2009. “Post-Racialism or Targeted Universalism?” Denver University Law Review 86: 785–806.
Reardon, Jenny, and Kim TallBear. 2012. Your DNA Is Our History: Genomics, Anthropology, and the Construction of Whiteness as Property.” Current Anthropology 53 (S5): S233–45.
Wooldridge, Blue, and Susan Gooden. 2009. “The Epic of Social Equity: Evolution, Essence, and Emergence.” Administrative Theory & Praxis 31 (2): 222–34.