El.pub Analytic Issue Number 12
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In June, we launched a request for readers of El.pub newsletter to take part in a study of the future of digital content. The methodology chosen was a Delphi study where respondents give their views; the views are aggregated and fed back to the respondents for further comment.
About 40 people offered to take part and in the end, we received full responses from 17 of our readers. This may seem a small number, but Delphi studies require considerably more input from individuals than simple questionnaires and are usually based on a small group of experts. All the respondents took a full part in the study. The participants were of course self-selecting, but most have been subscribers to El.pub for more than two years. The technical nature of the newsletter is such that any regular readers are going to be expert in at least some aspects of digital content.
The first round was open ended and simply asked people to list important factors in the future of digital content in terms of developments and barriers. The second round offered scenario like summaries of the factors elicited, grouped into topics and asked for votes on the scenarios and further input. After the second round, we closed the study in view of the likelihood of respondent fatigue. Details of the methodology are available on the web site.
All the respondents deserve our thanks for putting so much effort into the study.
From round one we received about 130 separate factors that were grouped around the topics of delivery, IPR, user control of content, content creation tools, usability, business models, market aspects, mobile and XML. The most surprising topic that was thrown up (in our perspective) was user control of content, which was seen as wider than either personalisation or interactivity.
It is possible to continue Delphi studies, after the initial round, in a number of ways. Examples include: with a long list of short questions (60% of mobile users will have broadband connection at greater than 1.5 Mbps, XML will replace HTML in the Web) that are voted on, or with a set of integrated scenarios that reflect alternative futures for comment.
Usually the experts are available for face-to-face discussion, either individually or as a group; this is not possible with an e-mail based study. We decided that the factors in the topics generally reflected a range of views on a roughly linear optimistic - pessimistic axis. The second questionnaire, based on this result, gave for each topic an optimistic and a pessimistic summary and asked for agreement / disagreement votes, whether the optimistic view would occur after rather than before 2006, the most important factor for each topic, other considerations and, finally, missing topics.
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Last up-dated: 1 December 2016
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