E-government refers to web-based services from agencies of local, state and federal governments (Sharma & Palvia, 2010). Providing government information and services on governmental websites is the primary functions for e-governments. As of 2008, all Chinese governments at national level and city level had set up governmental websites, and these websites are required to disseminate information timely, delivering various types of services and responding to online petitions.
Transparency is a basic condition for power-monitoring system, the government websites and data portals can enhance public access to public information. A number of stage models and indexes have already developed to measure and compare the eGovernment’s advancement from country level to city level (Lee, 2010). While prior stage models and indexes for measuring governmental websites neglect the dissemination of websites contents, higher content quality and more media citations of website articles will enhance the spreading of governmental websites information, leading to a more transparent and democratic e-government. Lee-Geiller & Lee (2019) developed a conceptual model for democratic evaluation named democratic e-governance website evaluation model. By providing first-hand interviewing evidence and practical amendments, and adding the new dimension – information dissemination, the goal of this study is to develop an updated and practical democratic evaluation model for China’s governmental websites.
Firstly, it is necessary to review the literature from various disciplines to reveal essential elements of and prior findings for government website evaluation. Secondly, a series of exemplar governmental websites were chosen to explore their content quality, function characteristics and information spreading. Thirdly, we conducted a series of in-depth interviews and focus groups with experienced Chinese government officials and industry experts to gain insight about the research topic. Finally, a popular descriptive-interpretative approach suggested by Elliott & Timulak (2005) was applied for our qualitative meta-analysis.
An updated version of democratic e-governance model has been proposed and it has four dimensions:
Open Accessibility: Free of charge; Non-proprietary; Multiple system availability; SNS/Smartphone application;
Information Disclosure: Types of information; Quality of information; Information update; Information support for other institutions
2) Information Dissemination:
Website Popularity: Website visibility; Network traffic; Media coverage of institution
Article Dissemination: Article visibility; Media citation; Popular article online
Social Impact of Public Events
3) Service Quality:
Interoperability of Services: Coordination at national level; Accuracy; Navigational structure; Content organization; Visual element; Processing capacity; On-site search
4) Citizen Engagement:
Political Efficacy: Online public service; Responsiveness to inquiry/complaints; Encouragement/promotion of participation; Sharing the products and outcomes created through collaboration