Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Bruce E. Tonn

Committee Members

John M. Scheb, David J. Houston, Stephanie A. Bohon


Although some methodologies exist for the systematic and strategic consideration of emerging and converging technologies, they typically do not incorporate agency current use, strategies, or foresight. This research develops a methodology to characterize current and potential United States federal agency use of emerging and converging technologies to fulfill agency strategic plans and serve society.

Phase 1 of this research develops a methodology to fulfill criteria derived from a literature review and an assessment of best practices. Designed to be implemented in four phases—develop, apply, evaluate, disseminate—the steps of this methodology include definition, collection, organization, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and dissemination. Within the analyze step, a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis approaches are applied to answer the defined questions. Current agency use of emerging and converging technologies is characterized with content analysis of strategic documents; technology assessment analysis by experts; and individual interviews with government employees. Potential agency use of emerging and converging technologies is characterized with individual interviews with government employees; plausibility matrix analysis by experts; and crowd-sourced intelligence. The methodology is applied in Phase 2 to two cases, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy, then evaluated in Phase 3 versus the design criteria and visual analytics, and disseminated in Phase 4 to researchers, policymakers, and the general public.

Key findings, results, and meta-inferences of this research are that many more potential uses exist for using emerging and converging technologies to fulfill agency strategies and the research identifies some of the potential uses by technology and strategy. These potential uses also are presented in terms of comparable technical feasibility and societal benefit. Implications for policymakers are that governing with foresight is critical; encouraging systematic agency consideration of emerging and converging technologies is necessary; and it is important to implement a government-wide methodology that will characterize current and potential use of emerging and converging technologies for fulfilling agency strategies. This research contributes the criterion for such a methodology as well as the methodology and the results of its application to two agency cases.

Data.xlsx (629 kB)
File 1. Data

Findings and Results.xlsx (1194 kB)
File 2. Findings and Results

Policymaker Summary.pdf (1613 kB)
File 3. Policymaker Summary

Visual Analytics Approach 1.twb (26 kB)
File 4. Visual Analytics for Approach 1

Visual Analytics Approach 2.twb (153 kB)
File 5. Visual Analytics for Approach 2

Visual Analytics Approach 4.twb (230 kB)
File 6. Visual Analytics for Approach 4

Visual Analytics Approach 5.twb (92 kB)
File 7. Visual Analytics for Approach 5

Visual Analytics Approaches 2 & 4.twb (74 kB)
File 8. Visual Analytics for Approaches 2 & 4

Visual Analytics Approaches 4 & 5.twb (114 kB)
File 9. Visual Analytics for Approaches 4 & 5

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