AbstractsPolitical Science

The communication and exchange of information between state and stakeholders.

by Graeme Baxter

Institution: Robert Gordon University
Year: 2014
Record ID: 1403930
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10059/1141


This thesis presents a critical review of the candidate’s Portfolio of Public Output, which is based on research conducted in the period November 2000 to date, and which consists of 21 peer-reviewed, publicly available papers published since 2001. The subject area which forms the basis of the thesis is the communication and exchange of information between ‘the state’ (i.e. parliaments and governments at the local, devolved, national and European levels, as well as those who aspire to become part of the state during parliamentary elections) and its ‘stakeholders’ (i.e. citizens, businesses, interest groups, etc.). Within this overarching theme, the thesis focuses on three distinct but interrelated sub-themes: 1) the provision and communication of information by, and within, parliaments; 2) the use of the Internet for information provision and exchange by political parties and candidates during parliamentary election campaigns; and 3) the exchange of information between government and stakeholders during formal public consultation processes. Within all three sub-themes, the thesis demonstrates the candidate’s contribution to the advancement of knowledge in two key and closely linked areas: the investigation of users’ information needs and informationseeking behaviour; and the critical evaluation of information service provision. The thesis begins by placing the Portfolio of Public Output in an historical, political context, by discussing the various parliamentary and government openness, transparency and consultative agendas that have influenced or driven the research on which the 21 papers are based. It continues by describing some of the candidate’s earlier research work, to illustrate his long-standing interest in state-stakeholder information provision and exchange, before outlining the various research projects from which the Portfolio outputs have emerged. In the core part of the thesis the 21 Portfolio outputs are synthesised and considered as part of a narrative whole, which reflects critically on their contents and which illustrates the candidate’s empirical, methodological and theoretical contribution to the field of library and information science (LIS). Here, the candidate argues that he has contributed significantly towards developing a better understanding of the information behaviour of stakeholders when engaging with the state, and a greater awareness of the ways in which government and parliamentary information systems and services might be more responsive to their stakeholders’ information needs, thus theoretically enabling a more informed, engaged and participatory body politic. In terms of the candidate’s empirical contribution, the thesis demonstrates that his papers have largely been unique, relevant and timely additions to the literature, written in a conscious effort to address gaps in our knowledge of: parliamentary information services and the ways in which citizens, elected members and officials engage with parliamentary information; the nature and the extent…