I am attempting to get my research proposal into shape which is proving a challenge as I can’t seem to get the literature review to work at all. Below is an attempt to try and give it an outline that I can then build on:

The decline in democratic participation throughout the western world is a well documented phenomena and with it are many suggestions as to how this could be addressed. As a researcher interested in developing possible solutions to this issue I need first to decide the route by which I want to address the democratic deficit and then argue why my proposed solution is a valid one for testing.

I have chosen to use a social capital analysis of this democratic deficit as I believe that the creation of vibrant communities is vital for any debate and my research is located within the framework of the network society which provides a structure and language for discussion of the societal changes wrought by the emergence of an information age . Manuel Castell’s work discussing the information age provide central ideas around this as does the work of Jurgen Habermas and his description of the Public Sphere.

I am intending to use an approach of mass collaboration and participatory design (co-creation) in order to create a project design which will use these techniques to effect democratic activity. The parallel for doing this is provided by citizen engagement literature which uses co-creation as a method for engaging citizens in shared decision making. While these approaches have been used to garner social or technology design effects this research is unique in that it uses this approach to bring about political outcomes.