Related Studies & Resources

Hired Guns

A report on lobby spending and disclosure in the states, by the Center for Public Integrity, May 15, 2003
(Report and press release)

From the news release:

"While lobbyists and their employers in 39 states spent more than $715 million wining, dining and generally influencing state lawmakers in 2002, many details about how those dollars were spent remain hidden from public view, according to a comprehensive analysis released today by the Center for Public Integrity.

More than half the states received a failing grade for their registration and spending disclosure requirements filed by legislative lobbyists. In fact, no state received an “A” on the Center’s 48-question survey."

Electronic Filing and Disclosure Survey: 2002 Update

Center for Governmental Studies, November 2002
(Report in PDF)

This report examines the attitudes of states, the media, and candidates toward electronic filing and disclosure systems. The report, looks at 50 states, 6 Canadian provinces and 6 cities, is an update of a 2001 report on the same topic.
(2001 Report in PDF)

The Virtual Trail: Political Journalism on the Internet

Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at the George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, October 2002
(Report in PDF)

This report examines journalists' use of the internet to cover campaign finance. Based on 271 interviews with political journalists from April 5 to May 14, 2002, it finds that the internet has changed media coverage of campaign finance by increasing the number of sources available to journalists.

Website Woes: The Federal Non-System for Campaign Finance Disclosure

Campaign Finance Institute, October 2002
(Report in PDF)

A report about the federal campaign finance disclosure system with analyses of the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies. It identifies problems with the current federal campaign finance disclosure system and offers recommendations for improvements.

Political Organizations: Data Disclosure and IRS's Oversight of Organizations Should Be Improved.

General Accounting Office (GAO) Report GAO-02-444, July 17, 2002

This GAO report includes an assessment of IRS web site usability to serve those who want to know who's funding the so-called "527" committees. The appendix includes the survey questions they asked to do the assessment.

The Campaign Finance Reform Blind Spot

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation, July 2002
(Report in PDF)

A study about the quality of state online disclosure of the financing of ballot measures. The study evaluated 24 states and the District of Columbia, where ballot measures are used. The report evaluates states on their filing requirements, data quality, voter access and data format.

State Secrets: A joint investigation of political party money in the states

The Center for Public Integrity, The Center for Responsive Politics and The National Institute on Money in State Politics, June 2002

Based on a year-long study, this report is about the role of state parties in federal elections. The report examines state party contributions and expenditures. It also includes information about soft money transfers to state party committees from national party organizations and the potential impact of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on the activities of the state parties.

The Information Society and the City: A Study on Web sites and e-government

Metropolis, World Association of the Major Metropolises, May 2002
(Report in PDF)

From the publication's introduction:

"In order to stimulate the current development of e-government in large urban areas the Metropolis Commission 4's report intends to provide recommendations and and thought provoking ideas. These contributions are focused on the design and distribution of online information and contents which are the most visible aspects of e-government...The website survey consisted of an analysis and comparison of available online contents."

The Rise of the E-Citizen: How People Use Government Agencies' Web Sites

Pew Internet & American Life Project, April 2002 (or in PDF)

This study examined how Americans are using government web sites, and its findings show how citizens are increasingly turning to government web sites to seek information and help. The study found that 68 million American adults have used government agency Web sites, up from 40 million who had used government sites in March 2000. The survey estimates that:

- 42 million Americans have used government Web sites to research public policy issues;
- 23 million Americans have used the Internet to send comments to public officials about policy choices; and
- 14 million Americans -- an estimated one out of every five Internet users -- have used government Web sites to gather information to help them decide how to cast their votes.

Overall the survey found that American Internet users are more satisfied with the quality of information available at federal and state sites, while local sites were found to be lacking.

Content or Graphics? An Empirical Analysis of Criteria for Award-Winning Websites

Rashmi Sinha, Marti A. Hearst, Melody Y. Ivory, and Maya Draisin, June 2001 (or in PDF)
Additional UC Berkeley web site evaluation publications available at

From the introduction of the paper:

"An oft-debated question in website design circles is the relative importance of content versus graphics. The increasing popularity of Flash animation is fanning the flames of this conflict [Nielsen00a]. There are many guidelines for the design of websites [Nielsen00b, Borges96]. However, these guidelines offer conflicting views of which dimensions are important for website design; a recent survey of 21 web guidelines found little consistency among them [Ratner96]. We suspect this might result from the fact that there is a lack of empirical validation for such guidelines. To provide an empirical basis to the underlying debate, we examined the Webby Awards 2000 dataset to understand which factors distinguish highly-rated websites from those that receive lower scores. "

E-Government: The Next American Revolution

Poll conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government, September 2000

From the introduction:

"These are among the findings of a three-part study on the issue of e-government, conducted by Hart-Teeter on behalf of the Council for Excellence in Government, comprising surveys among the general public, government officials, and institutional 'customers' of government (businesses and nonprofit organizations).   The surveys explored the three populations' direct experience with and involvement in e-government, as well as their expectations of it and goals for the future."

The Government Performance Project Grade Reports

Including various studies and reports published by the Project, 1999-2002

The Government Performance Project is a comprehensive survey of the effectiveness of core government management activities. Grade reports completed by the GPP include:

- Federal Grade Report, 1999 and 2000
- State Grade Report, 1999 and 2001
- City Grade Report, 2000
- County Grade Report, 2002

The GPP provides information about financial management, human resource management, information technology and capital management systems, and procedures for managing for results. It also considers leadership and positive efforts to change. In examining systems such as information technology in a variety of settings, the GPP creates opportunities for governments to learn from one another, to more systematically examine how their own systems fit together, and to consider how their allocation of resources to the various systems translates into overall effectiveness and performance potential.

Digital Democracy Databank: Online Democracy by the Numbers

Democracy Online Project, 1998-2002

A collection of surveys by George Washington University's Democracy Online Project that look at use of the Internet in political campaigns and by citizens participating in government, politics & elections.

OMB Watch Publications

Publications available through the OMB Watch web site include:

- Plugged In, Tuning Up: An Assessment of State Legislative Websites (March 2001)
- Speaking up in the Internet Age: Use and Value of Constituent E-Mail and Congressional Web Sites (December 1998)
- Democracy at Work: Nonprofit Use of Technology for Public Policy Purposes (December 1998)


Altertbox, Jakob Nielsen's Column on Web Usability

(Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., Principal, Nielsen Norman Group, called "the guru of web page usability" by the New York Times.)

Relevant past columns include:

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (May 1996)

"Top Ten Mistakes" Revisited Three Years Later (May 1999)

The Top Ten New Mistakes of Web Design (May 1999)

Even More New Web Design Problems

Severity Ratings for Usability Problems

The Penultimate Mile: Local and State Governments Collaborating to Serve Citizens Through Information Technology

Book by Robert Greeves, Council for Excellence in Government

From the executive summary:

"This study was conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government to learn more about innovative state and local government initiatives providing service to citizens, directly or indirectly, through use of information technology. Of particular interest were initiatives having an intergovernmental aspect to them and/or employing public/private sector partnerships."

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This page was first published on September 18, 2002 | Last updated on May 16, 2002
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