Tuesday, June 10, 2003

On design, ethnography and ethnomethodology

The folks at Team Ethno and the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham are up to some really good work:

Taking technomethodology seriously: hybrid change in the ethnomethodology-design relationship (pdf) by Andy Crabtree, 2002.

The incorporation of ethnomethodology in professional systems development has prompted the call for the approach to move from design critique to design practice and the invention of the future. This has resulted in the development of a variety of hybrid forms that have had marginal impact upon product-based development, whose needs they have been configured to meet. This paper suggests that a concern to fit ethnomethodology into product-based development life-cycles is a primary source of the difficulties encountered in moving ethnomethodology from design critique to design practice. In practice, ethnomethodology is largely employed in research rather than product development settings. Recognition of the real world uses of ethnomethodology in research practice opens up the possibility of devising a hybrid methodology that actively supports the invention of the future. Accordingly, this paper articulates a distinct socio-technical model that provides an iterative structure for the constructive involvement of ethnomethodology in processes of innovation in design, the results of which may subsequently be subject to the rationalities and constraints of product development.

Ethnography and design? (pdf) by Andy Crabtree and Tom Rodden, 2002.

We consider the role of ‘workplace studies’ in design and specifically, what it means to use ethnography to ‘inform’ design. We suggest that there is a need for a foundational change in the configuration of the practical relationship between ethnography and design if the approach is to be of lasting utility: from the traditional product-oriented configuration where ethnography attempts to inform requirements specification, to one where ethnography supports the broader research endeavour, the development of abstract design concepts, and the exploration of the social application of new technologies.

Ethnography for design? (pdf) by Terry Hemmings and Andy Crabtree, 2002.

Ethnography is a widely used term in contemporary design circles though is not often recognized that this term glosses a host of different analytic perspectives on social interaction. A broad distinction may be drawn between interpretive and non-interpretive approaches to ethnographic inquiry. This paper articulates the distinction with particular reference to ethnomethodology, which has dominated ethnographic inquiry in a design context following Lucy Suchman’s pioneering work in the field.

And because they're excellent papers, see also:

Located Accountabilities in Technology Production and Human/Machine Reconsidered by Lucy Suchman


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. Great.

but the urls are not working!


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