Conference: How’s My Feedback? – The Technology and Politics of Evaluation

Past Event

28 June 2011, 10:00am - 6:30pm

Said Business School
Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP

A one-day international conference at Saïd Business School, supported by an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Small Grant and the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society.

There is hardly anything these days that is not being evaluated on the web. Books, dishwashers, lawyers, teachers, health services, ex-boyfriends, haircuts, prostitutes and websites are just some examples targeted by novel review, rating and ranking schemes. Used in an increasing number of areas, these schemes facilitate public assessment by soliciting and aggregating feedback and distributing it as comments, ranks, scales and stories. While some have greeted this development as an innovative way of fostering transparency, accountability and public engagement, others have criticized the forced exposure and alleged lack of accuracy and legitimacy, pointing to the potentially devastating consequences of negative evaluations. Now research is under way to tackle these issues head-on and evaluate the various types of review, rating and ranking schemes in a collaborative design experiment. Under the title ‘How’s my feedback?’, a group of experts, including designers, managers, reviewers, policy-makers, consumer spokespeople, academics and users have explored the idea of a website that allows users to publicly assess their experience with review and rating schemes – a feedback website for feedback websites.

The goal of the conference is to reflect on this process and the emerging prototype. How are we to judge the effectiveness of these schemes? What modes of governance are implicated in their operation? What strategies and methodologies are employed in their development, maintenance and use? How successful is this project as a design intervention? What is it to evaluate the evaluators – and will this business ever end?

Speakers include:
Malcolm Ashmore, Loughborough University
Andrew Balmer, University of Sheffield
Stefan Schwarzkopf Copenhagen Business School
Ian Stronach, Liverpool John Moores University
Alex Wilkie, Goldsmiths, University of London
Steve Woolgar, University of Oxford

Organisers: Malte Ziewitz and Steve Woolgar, University of Oxford, in cooperation with James Munro, Patient Opinion

The event is free of charge, but registration is required. Places are limited, so please sign up early:

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