Governments around the world are increasingly investing in the publication of data and information on the internet in a bid to promote transparency and public engagement. However, studies have found that there is a poor audience and citizens’ engagement with online contents in general, and with governments’ digital data and information in particular. Studies have also shown that it is important that governments who seek to engage the citizens in State’s decisionmaking process should first engage them with their informative online contents. But the challenge is that e-public engagement research has been predominantly techno-centric. Therefore, with an exploratory research design and a sequential-mixed methods approach, this study investigated the factors influencing citizens’ engagement with governments’ online contents based on the views of Nigerians. From the qualitative phase of the study, a citizen-content engagement (C-CE) model was developed. This model was then tested in the quantitative phase, and findings indicate that citizens’ engagement with governments’ online contents (CE) is directly influenced by the quality and ability of the contents in meeting the citizens’ information need (INPCQ), and by the citizens’ affinity for governments’ platforms (IVP). IVP is influenced by trust in the government (TGA), the ability to actively participate in information creation on governments platforms (CC), and the ability to interact and deliberate with other citizens and government’s officials on those platforms (IDelib). Governments’ platform-type and citizens’ level of political awareness also played a moderating role on IVP. Governments’ use of social media was found to be more important than the use of websites in the influence of TGA, CC, and IDelib on IVP. Poor level of political awareness was more important than the optimal level of political awareness in the influence of IVP on CE, which indicates that the more aware citizens are about the government, the less the affinity they have for their platforms. This research is important as the outcome may help governments that are interested in e-participation to shape their contents better in ways that would encourage citizencontent engagement and citizen participation.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 1 Nov 2016|