Track chairs

  • Marita Turpin (marita.turpin[at]up.ac.za, University of Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Kirstin Krauss (krauske[at]unisa.ac.za, University of South Africa,South Africa)
  • Machdel Matthee (machdel.matthee[at]up.ac.za, University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Overview of the Research area

Information systems researchers in developing countries are often criticised for drawing on theories and methods that were developed in Western regions, to interrogate problem issues where the local context is different from where the theories or methods originated (e.g. Davison and Martinsons, 2016). There have been attempts to remedy this situation, in particular in the area of ICT4D theories. For example, the Information Systems Journal recently announced a special issue on Indigenous Theory that was accompanied by initiatives to assist researchers from developing countries to better articulate their theorising and to develop quality high-impact papers.

A recent review of ICT4D research in South Africa (Turpin, 2018) revealed a significant number of process and method related local innovations in ICT4D. Examples include contributions on project selection (Plauché  et al. 2010), community entry (Krauss, 2017), user requirements elicitation (Mamba and Isabirye, 2015), project management (Pade-Khene et al. 2011), and policy evaluation (Krauss, 2013). From the papers reviewed by Turpin, it seems that these innovations are often not explicitly reported as locally developed process or method contributions by the authors, and as such these publications are not adequately recognised by the international IS community.

We contend that ICT4D research in developing countries often go hand-in-hand with local improvisations (Ali and Bailur, 2007) and innovations, as necessitated by the unique local circumstances and contexts. Local researchers regard such improvisations or adaptations – where they apply their knowledge of the local context - as part of their job to make things work, and since these innovations are often not the original aim of their project, they do not necessarily seek recognition for it. It also seems that local researchers do not realise the unique and relevant contributions they come up with, often simply because they are so immersed in local realities, that the innovations and adaptations seem to them to be ‘common sense’ or ‘obvious’. As such, their contributions are not adequately articulated as innovative, unique, contextualised, or ‘interesting’. It also seems that local authors do not adequately position their work in broader or international ICT4D discourses.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions looked-for

In this track, we invite ICT4D researchers from developing countries to share their locally developed innovations, in particular those associated with ICT4D project processes or research methods that they adapted, appropriated, particularised, or created for local ICT4D problem solving. Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Stakeholder engagement processes.
  • User requirements elicitation.
  • Project management.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.
  • Research philosophy.
  • Research strategy.
  • Locally relevant data collection methods.
  • Culturally appropriate methods to doing interviews, participant observation, project management, teaching with technology, and so forth.
  • Appropriate research dissemination methods.

References and Bibliography

Ali, M. and Bailur, S., 2007. The challenge of “sustainability” in ICT4D— is bricolage the answer? In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, São Paulo, Brazil, May 2007.

Davison, R.M. and Martinsons, M.G., 2016. Context is king! Considering particularism in research design and reporting. Journal of Information Technology, 31(3), pp.241-249.

Krauss, K., 2013. "Collisions between the worldviews of international ICT policy-makers and a deep rural community in South Africa: Assumptions, interpretation, implementation, and reality," Information Technology for Development, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 296-318.

Krauss, K.E., 2017. A confessional account of community entry: doing critically reflexive ICT4D work in a deep rural community in South Africa. Information Technology for Development, pp.1-29.

Mamba, M. S. N. and Isabirye, N. 2015. "A framework to guide development through ICTs in rural areas in South Africa," Information Technology for Development, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 135-150.

Pade-Khene, C., Mallinson, B. and Sewry, D. 2011. “Sustainable rural ICT project management practice for developing countries: investigating the Dwesa and RUMEP projects," Information Technology for Development, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 187-212.

Plauché, M., De Waal, A., Sharma Grover, A., and Gumede, T., 2010. "Morphological Analysis: A method for selecting ICT applications in South African government service delivery," Information Technologies & International Development, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-20.

Turpin, M., 2018. “Assessing South African ICT4D research outputs: a journal review”, South African Computer Journal (in press).