Research

Research

In times of rapid, digitally-induced change, the knowledge space becomes a key area of capture and contestation. The state of play in the realm of concepts and frameworks is therefore a significant site for critical examination and informed action. Theoretical lenses and empirical facts must be used skilfully to trace who defines emergent social, economic and political ideas and how interests of different actors are impacted. IT for Change has been at the cutting edge of critical research, not only de-constructing dominant approaches and concepts in relation to digital developments, but also articulating alternative frameworks rooted in ideals of social justice and equity.

Current Projects

RECOGNISE, RESIST, REMEDY

This collaborative project between IT for Change, India and InternetLab, Brazil addresses gender-based hate speech in the online public sphere. It responds to the current reality in both countries where women are not only speaking up against patriarchy, but also claiming public-political space despite pervasive sexism and misogyny.

The project adopts three main strategies: (a) highlights blind spots in dominant legal frameworks that prevent effective recognition of sexist/misogynistic speech online as a violation of women’s rights; (b) offers ways to reform content governance and intermediary liability legislation to ensure timely redressal; and (c) builds a proof-of-concept model to resist normalisation of sexist speech online.

CENTERING WOMEN IN INDIA'S DIGITALISING ECONOMY

IT for Change, with support from the European Commission, is anchoring a five-year (2020-2024) collaborative action research to explore the potential of alternative digital platforms in sectors that traditionally employ women. Undertaken in partnership with Vrutti and LabourNet, the project aims to ensure that the benefits of a data-driven and digitalised economy accrue to women. It is underpinned by a vision of mainstreaming gender in policy and exploring inclusive models of platform economies.

‘UNSKEWING’ THE PLATFORM VALUE CHAIN

IT for Change is pleased to launch its two-year regional project on 'Unskewing' the Platform Value Chain: Examining Role of Policy in Shaping Equitable Data Economies’. Supported by the Omidyar Network, this project will continue on the heels of our first phase of research on policies for the platform economy, a 14-country initiative that concluded in November 2019.

In this second phase, IT for Change will lead and coordinate empirical research on platform value chains and the political economy of data, looking closely at the domains of e-commerce and social media.

Digital Justice Project

2018 - ongoing

Digital Justice is a collaborative research and advocacy initiative of IT for Change and DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era). We aim to re-interpret the emerging techno-social paradigm from a Southern feminist standpoint. The project foregrounds debates at the intersection of enduring feminist concerns about gender justice and women’s human rights on the one hand, and emerging issues at the digital frontier on the other.

Data Governance Network

IT for Change is one of the four ‘nodes’ in the Data Governance Network (DGN) selected for research rigour and evidence of engagement in policy domains. The DGN was established by the IDFC Institute in 2019 to bring together some of India's leading policy think-tanks: National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Internet Democracy Project and IT for Change. It identifies policy gaps in data governance and seeks to bridge them through policy interventions, research and advocac

Past Projects

Platform Policies

In April 2017, with support from the International Development Research Centre, Canada, IT for Change initiated a multi-country research study to map the key issues/concerns for the rights and inclusion agenda, stemming from pervasive platformisation. Through a detailed analysis of digital platforms, the project seeks to garner insights about key policy implications on access to data, competition, economic opportunity, and innovation.

Righting Gender Wrongs

The project, ‘Righting Gender Wrongs: A Study of Law Enforcement Responses to Online Violence Against Women’, is an ongoing exploratory research study of gender-based cyber violence led by IT for Change with feminist partners across six sites of study in India, covering the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The research project has used mixed methods -- self administered surveys with college students between the ages of 19-23, key informant interviews with law enforcement officials, women’s rights lawyers and activists, family court lawyers, counselors, digital rights activists; and focus group discussions with young men and women in colleges to study violence online as well as conduct a systematic assessment of institutional pathways to change.

OER Adoption: Phase II

As part of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) network anchored by the University of Cape Town, IT for Change is undertaking an action research project on building a sustainable environment for OER access-creation-curation-publishing. In the first phase of the project, the Karnataka Open Educational Resources(KOER) programme for the co-creation of OER within a teachers' community of learning was studied. The project is currently exploring what it takes to build a scaled-up OER model that can become a systemic approach to teacher professional development in the public education system.

E-government and Gender Equality in the Asia-Pacific

In 2016, IT for Change carried out a five-country research study on gender and e-government in the Asia-Pacific, in partnership with UNESCAP and UNPOG. This study examined how e-government norms, rules and practices impact institutional shifts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment by focusing on its key components – service delivery, citizen uptake and connectivity architecture. The second phase of the study, to create an online training toolkit on e-government and gender equality for policymakers, is currently in progress.