Beyond just politics: A systematic literature review of online participation

December 06, 2016 by Christoph Lutz, Christian Pieter Hoffmann, Miriam Meckel

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This paper presents a systematic literature review of the current state–of–research on online participation. The review draws on four databases and is guided by the application of six topical search terms. The analysis strives to differentiate distinct forms of online participation and to identify salient discourses within each research field. We find that research on online participation is highly segregated into specific sub–discourses that reflect disciplinary boundaries. Research on online political participation and civic engagement is identified as the most prominent and extensive research field. Yet research on other forms of participation, such as cultural, business, education and health participation, provides distinct perspectives and valuable insights. We outline both field–specific and common findings and derive propositions for future research.