A Design Theory Approach to Community Informatics: Community-Centered Development and Action Research Testing of Online Social Networking Prototype

David T Bourgeois, Thomas A. Horan


Over the last two decades, there has been increasing attention to the array of information and technology (ICT) applications that can be used for creating community information systems. This paper adopts takes a design theory approach to the community-centered development and testing of an online social networking prototype. The action research project was conducted in a college setting, where an online software system as designed and eventually used by 273 students over a six week period. A follow-on survey and interviews suggested the system was promising in terms of its influence of several dimensions of social capital, though a more extensive field testing would be needed to fully explore these statistical relationships. The paper concludes with a discussion of refinements that may be useful in using a community-centered design approach aimed at creating community information systems.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441