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The Transparency of County Websites: A Content Analysis

Author: CAROLYN T. HARDER and MEAGAN M. JORDAN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 37 No. 1

The concept of transparency is a basic democratic ideal, and government websites are a tool for enhancing transparency. Previous studies have focused on larger populations, surveys of public officials, and the progression of government websites beyond the informational stage of development. This study looks at the breadth of the information provided to the public via the county government website as a measure of transparency. A content analysis is conducted of county government websites based on 16 categories of transparency indicators. We conclude that the focus on pressing governments beyond the informational stage of development may be pre-mature for smaller governments. This incomplete development of information directly inhibits the role that websites can play in enhancing transparency.

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