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Online participation is an online-based process where participants contribute voluntarily to create some common good (e.g. a policy on how to spend public money or a publicly available resource, such as a wikipedia page). The focus of this wiki is on online participation in decision-making processes. In this specific context online participation is defined as the involvement of those who are affected by a decision in the decision-making process with at least some use of internet technology (here is more on our definition of Online Participation).


There are different ways to access the information collected in this wiki. It is possible to explore it

  1. along the different phases of an online participation process (see Process)
  2. by looking at the factors that influence this process or (see Factors)
  3. through the analytical criteria that are used to measure online participation (see Analytical Criteria).

Online participation is a process that can be split into a sequence of four phases:

  • Setup - The initial phase that prepares for the execution of the actual participation
  • Execution - The phase in which the actual participation actions take place.
  • Result - Either the results itself as the product of the execution phase, or more broadly the phase in which results are created.
  • Impact - The final phase covers the variety of different consequences that flow from the participation process.

An online participation process can be influenced by a number of factors that can be classified as follows:

  • micro factors - factors related to the actors (e.g. demographic characteristics), the institutional or the technical infrastructure (e.g. process design)
  • meso factors - relating to the organisation concerned in participation, e.g the institutional context
  • macro factors - factors on the level of the state, e.g. the political system or the political culture

Online participation can be measured through analytical criteria, such as legitimacy, efficiency, and the quality of its results. So far, there is no classification of those criteria. They are therefore presented as a flat list.

Points of Interest

There are some areas that might be of particular interest to first-time visitors. This includes the main categories maintained in this wiki, content that has been the focus of a lot of work recently and general information on how to use and contribute to this wiki.

Wiki Sitemap

Main categories

Online Participation(9 C, 9 P)
Analytical Criteria(11 C, 7 P)
Evaluation(3 C, 9 P)
Factors(3 C, 1 P)
People(9 P)
Process(4 C)
References(3 C, 1 P)
Relations(25 P)
Resources(6 C)
Theory(2 C, 52 P)


There are resources available for scientists and practitioners that offer:

  • glossary of terms
  • guidelines for planning and implementing online participation processes
  • research institutions that engage in research re the Internet and participation
  • research projects on the Internet and participation
  • publication venues - a list of conferences & journals or other means to publish relevant research
  • references - summaries of literature (i.e. studies), case studies and descriptions of particular technical systems
  • Praxiswiki - wiki for practitioners (in German)
  • databases

About this wiki

This wiki collects the scholarly knowledge about online participation. Specifically, it aims to:

  • include the findings from various academic disciplines
  • connect them into a common framework
  • report empirical evidence from real-world cases
  • present resources to study this phenomenon

It is open to everybody, but its main focus is on those with an academic interest in the subject or who are involved in administering online participation processes. It has been initiated and is maintained by the NRW Fortschrittskolleg Online-Partizipation, however it is open for contributions from anyone.

For basic information on how to navigate, edit and contribute to the Wiki see How to contribute to this wiki.


See Wiki TODOs for a list of tasks.