SPPA Prof. Robert Shepherd and Daniel J. Caron, an adjunct professor in SPPA and professor at ENAP, presented “How to evaluate transparency in a digital environment?” at the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) Conference in Calgary in May. They discussed the role of transparency in the democratic process and the consequences of the advent of digital technologies on government documentation practices and citizen communication practices. 

While several digital technologies and instruments, such as the Open Government Partnership Program, support greater transparency, government practices may not be as advanced as new citizen behaviors. For instance, those behaviors are increasingly based on the use of applications or social media to get political information. That also means that the effectiveness of transparency practices will depend more and more on digital technologies. 

Professors Shepherd and Caron also recalled the complexity of the issue by discussing its many ramifications from the creation of information within institutions to their communication to citizens. Finally, the authors have raised the importance of adapting evaluation practices to this new and increasingly complex environment. While digital technologies are changing work processes within organizations, they also have significant implications for how program evaluation is conducted. They reported on their joint research work to model the production of transparency in the digital universe using a theory-based evaluation model.

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