Assessing the Social Impacts of ICTs

Between May and August 2001, we surveyed the major literatures on the social, psychological, educational, and health effects of ICTs. We reviewed several hundred books, articles, and Web-based materials. We also interviewed a variety of experts whose work bears directly on these concerns, asking them to describe in detail the "state of the art" in several areas.

The purpose of our research was to provide Kellogg Foundation program staff with perspectives and information potentially helpful in considering project proposals involving information and communications technology. Our primary foci reflect Kellogg's major areas of interest: education, childhood development, and the role of ICTs in organizations (which might include schools, community groups, and international aid agencies).

This report presents our findings. In addition to this, the report contains three potentially useful sections:

  1. An annotated bibliography, which briefly summarizes the contents of over fifty books, articles, and websites.
  2. Transcripts of eight interviews with experts in a variety of related fields. These interviews reflect the opinions of leading researchers on the state of the art in social assessment of ICTs. These interviewees are:
  3. A complete bibliography [ by category, alphabetical ] of over 290 books, articles, websites, and other resources. This includes the items in the annotated bibliography, plus another 240 references which we were unable to annotate within the limited time available for this project. Since the literature on ICT effects is enormous, this is not a comprehensive survey. We attempted to cover only the most representative references on major issues. The bibliography is divided into the following categories, reflecting the issues on which we focused.

    We provide these as pointers for Kellogg staff wishing to further explore particular areas. Because research on many of these issues is very active, any bibliography written today will be incomplete tomorrow. Therefore, we have also included a number of more general sources, which the interested reader may wish to consult in order to gain an up-to-date perspective.

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