I have decided to get on and set-up my pilot questionnaire in order to establish a benchmark of behaviour from the pilot sites so that I can then see whether or not the work at the sites is having any effect. I plan to administer the same questionnaire to all stakeholder groups as I think there will be some interesting reactions from the local authority groups and I want to try and tease out one of the contradictions which we often come across which is that they talk very enthusiastically about using new technologies and indeed social networking and yet institutional and personal barriers are raised to actually doing this. Is this because they don’t really realise what is involved? Or if they do realise is it cultural or democratic process barriers that cause issues – ie does the formal process need to be updated before Local Authorities can make use of social media?
I also want to try and find a way to find out if people respond to the idea of creating new spaces to do democracy online – does the guarantee of an appropriate online space make people more or less likely to participate?
So – the questionnaire is going to be in three parts; simple demographics, attitudes to Internet usage and attitudes to democratic participation. The questionnaire will be administered online, on paper if people want it and also as the basis as a number if interviews.