Research informing practice: Toward effective engagement in community ICT in New Zealand

  • Barbara Craig Victoria University, Wellington
  • Jocelyn E. Williams Unitec Institute of Technology
Keywords: participation, social media, social cohesion


New Zealand’s Computers in Homes has been researched since its inception in 2000, through both participatory action research and multiple mixed methods case studies, by the authors of this paper who are now collaborating to find the most meaningful way to assess social outcomes in the scheme as it evolves.  Computers in Homes (CIH) not only continues to be informed by the research but it is also beginning to make use of social media for community participant engagement.  This paper traces the inter-relationship between the ongoing research and evolution of practice, reflecting on a shift in epistemology and thus research design.  Our work now extends to explore the relationship between community blogging, adopted by CIH as a way of engaging the community in making sense of their own experience and thus owning their own research, and the role of social relationships in facilitating a sense of belonging.  Our paper examines how the use of social media in this way may challenge the more traditional ideas and power relations inherent in the researcher-participant relationship in community ICT research.

Author Biographies

Barbara Craig, Victoria University, Wellington

Research Associate, Jessie Hetherington Center and Lecturer, Faculty of Education Policy and Implementation School, Victoria University, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND. E‑mail:

Jocelyn E. Williams, Unitec Institute of Technology
Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Communication Studies: Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND. E-mail:
How to Cite
Craig, B., & Williams, J. (2011). Research informing practice: Toward effective engagement in community ICT in New Zealand. The Journal of Community Informatics, 7(3). Retrieved from