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Research Phase 1: Social context, needs assessment and technology matching

To get an overview of the needs for e-consultation, and the technologies that could be matched to these needs, we need to find out four things:

To find out: Methodology Lead partner
The current use of consultation techniques across Ireland Questionnaires, social mapping NIRSA
Needs of social groups consulted Focus groups NIRSA
Needs of organisations involved in consultation In depth interviews NIRSA
E-consultation technologies Literature review, heuristic evaluation QUB

Each task will be led by one of the partners, with the assistance of the other partners.

We will map the current use across Ireland, north and south, of consultation levels and forms. This will require a multiscalar approach involving local government, regional bodies and NGO's both local and transnational. The objective is to establish a reliable base line to provide context for the current project. Social mapping techniques will be used as well as more traditional questionnaire methods.

In parallel with this, we will match specific e-consultation technologies to these elicited needs and the conditions of those affected by the troubles (rather than traditional consultees), and to the different stages of mediation/ negotiation/ consultation processes in which they will actively participate. The objective is to produce a detailed map of the conditions under which particular technologies designed for use under different conditions (e.g. business decision-making) might be appropriate in this context.