By Caitlin Bentley, Postgraduate research student, ICT4D Research Centre, Royal Holloway University of London.
This is the fifth in a series of articles by the Institute's Fellows, each covering an area of interest that relates directly both to their own work and the wider issue of software's role in research.
Information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) is a relatively contemporary multi-discipline, and continues to evolve. Generally, ICT4D comprises the application and development of ICTs to achieve social and economic development goals. Heeks (2010) wrote that ICT4D researchers need to approach research problems from a tri-disciplinary perspective: computer science, information systems and development studies. Additionally, ICT4D is fundamentally about human and sustainable development, and as Unwin (2009) has previously argued, researchers must prioritize the development needs and wants of the poor and marginalised people. ICTs are not a silver bullet by any means.
The roles of ICT4D researchers are to act as intermediaries, critics and advocates, and we draw ICTs from within our tool belts to engage in the politics of social, economic and sustainable development processes. Nevertheless, technological solutions to development problems can be beneficial if they are built upon existing…Continue Reading