The topic of "online citizen participation in parliamentary work" first came into focus through the work of the Enquete Commission "Internet and Digital Society" of the 17th German Bundestag. The IZT initially analysed the innovations of this Internet Enquete in a preliminary study, which was accepted by the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment on 2 July 2014.

The usability and user friendliness of participation tools are essential prerequisites for successful online citizen participation in parliamentary work. Internet-based participation tools have evolved in recent years. They complement the possibilities of earlier tools, which focused on information and communication, with additional functions such as dialogue orientation, voting or collaboration, for example, in text creation.

For the participation tool of the Internet Enquiry, an existing system was adapted to the requirements of the Enquiry Commission and the Bundestag. The e-petitions are another example from the work of the German Bundestag. Other parliaments, committees as well as parties have also developed participation tools and are testing them for online citizen participation. The analysis of current developments at the national and European level and the identification of good examples from the perspective of the operators of the participation platforms as well as from the perspective of the users or citizens in general should be the focus of this study. The results of the preliminary study were deepened and validated, among other things, through guideline-based expert interviews. For this purpose, the members of the Internet Enquiry as well as those involved in the process, for example from the Bundestag administration, were interviewed. The focus was on the new approaches and the deviations from the usual procedures (e.g. public meetings as a rule, daily information on the internet), but also on the effects on the work of the MPs and the work processes of the parliament. Furthermore, it was planned to hold talks with members of the Bundestag of the 18th legislative period in order to find out whether the Internet Enquiry has already set impulses for the current work of committees and parliamentary groups. As part of this in-depth step, the role of electronic petitions with regard to civic participation was also discussed. In this context, overarching issues, in particular the guarantee of privacy, were also discussed with external experts, for example from the Federal Office for Information Security. In addition, it seemed promising to analyse the content of the proposals made by citizens and organisations on the participation platform and the course of the discussion in depth. These analyses could be carried out, for example, on the basis of the thematically defined project groups "Copyright" and "Net Neutrality" or on a project group with a wide range of discussion lines, for example "Democracy and the State". In addition, the topic of "online citizen participation" was the focus of a survey in autumn 2015 as part of the Stakeholder Panel TA (carried out by IZT). Among other things, the following aspects were considered: Goals of online citizen participation; requirements for and topics of online citizen participation; evaluation of online citizen participation from the perspective of stakeholders from society, politics and science.