The potential of Participedia as a crowdsourcing tool for comparative analysis of democratic innovations

Graham Smith, Robert C. Richards, John Gastil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Participedia (PP; is an open global knowledge platform for researchers and practitioners in the field of democratic innovation and public engagement. It represents an experiment with a new and potentially powerful way to conduct social science research: crowdsourcing data on participatory processes from researchers and practitioners from all over the world and making that data freely available for analysis. This article reflects on the potential of PP to realize its long-term aim of answering the basic research questions: what kinds of participatory processes work best, for what purposes, and under what conditions? Initially the article reviews the data model that informs PP and the types of comparative analysis it might enable. Our analysis draws on the PP data to explore the relationship between aspects of institutional design (including facilitation, forms of interaction, and decision methods) across a range of democratic innovations represented on the platform. The study offers important insights on institutional design, but also on the potential for crowdsourcing data from disparate communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-262
Number of pages20
JournalPolicy and Internet
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Administration
  • Health Policy
  • Computer Science Applications


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