The Changing Field of ICTD: Growth and maturation of the field, 2000-2010

Ricardo Gomez


We report the results of a content analysis of 948 papers from selected peer reviewed journals and conferences published between 2000 and 2010 in the academic literature on the interdisciplinary field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD or ICT4D). Results indicate that the field has grown and matured dramatically since its early days, and traces some of the most salient shifts over time and across journals and conferences. Results indicate that the majority of the literature focuses on business and empowerment as the primary domains of ICTD work, and on ICT in general and on information systems as the most common technology objects of analysis, with a growing trend toward mobile phones. The dominant types of research questions are of descriptive, or of measurement or social change in nature, while the preferred paradigmatic stances overall are interpretivist, positivist and pragmatic. The preferred research methods are qualitative, mixed methods and quantitative. There is a predominance of technological approaches to ICTD rather than social ones, and the most frequent types of recommendations are related to more ICT infrastructure. Furthermore, most of the literature consists of studies of individual countries or of organizations, and the most frequent contributions are field studies and best practices, with a growing trend towards contributing theory and policy recommendations. This is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the ICTD literature across multiple sources over ten years; it offers important insights about the trends and directions of research in the ICTD field.


ICTD; evlauation; content analysis; trends; theory;

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The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
ISSN: 1681-4835