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From digital skills to tangible outcomes (DIS2O)

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Disto Team UK, NL and South Americas

In the UK and Europe where this project originated policies have been developed to improve individuals' Internet access and skills to ensure they can fully participate in all aspects of the information society. Other regions show similar initiatives aimed at tackling inequalities in people’s abilities to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in ways that help achieve tangible, high-quality outcomes in everyday life. At the same time, a great deal of academic work has been conducted which has led to detailed knowledge about who is and who is not digitally included.

As the Internet becomes an increasingly embedded part of everyday life for many people, research on digital inclusion has been criticized. There are concerns about the lack of strong theoretical developments within the field and the limitations of the survey measures typically used in research and evaluations of initiatives. In this project, we aim to address these criticisms through developing theoretically informed survey measures of people's digital skills, engagement with the Internet, and the tangible outcomes this Internet use has in their lives.

In parallel to the development of #DiSTOsurvey measures, collaborations with government, third sector and academic institutions have been put into place using the DiSTO framework as a guide to visualise the links between digital and social exclusion in the #DiSTOmap projects.

This combination of large scale national survey research and mapping of inequalities at the smaller local level makes cross-national, community and individual level comparisons possible, allowing us to answer questions about the processes that drive socio-digital inequalities at the micro, meso and macro level.

We continue to look for partners for both the #DiSTOsurvey and the #DiSTOmap projects. Please contact Ellen Helsper if you are interested in finding out more.
This project develops and tests questionnaires on digital skills, Internet uses, and outcomes of Internet use that can be used by the wider academic community in full or in short item versions. Originally developed and tested in the UK and the Netherlands, these measures are now used internationally, in partnerships with Australia, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and the US.