[Siguse-l] Call for Participation in ASIS&T 2006 Workshop – Submission Deadline - 8 September

Theresa Anderson theresa.anderson at uts.edu.au
Sun Aug 27 22:14:47 EDT 2006

    Call for Participation in ASIS&T 2006 Workshop –

    Doing Ethnography: Examining ICT use in context

      Saturday, 4 November 2006 1:30-5:30 pm

      Sponsored by: SIG-SI

<>Deadlines: 500-word problem statement due September 8, 2006 (REVISED 
DEADLINE) to the organizer (see details below)

Speakers: Elisabeth Davenport, Brenda Dervin, Elizabeth Figa (see bios 
Expertise level: all levels welcome

This ½ day workshop aims to help participants to devise and/or enhance 
(enrich) ethnographic techniques for investigating the complex interplay 
between people, technology and information given time and resource 
constraints. It offers an opportunity to researchers to share their 
experiences in the field and/or learn from the prior experiences of 
others. The workshop will offer participants the opportunity to work 
with three eminent discussants: Elisabeth Davenport, Brenda Dervin, and 
Elizabeth Figa (details below). The discussants will draw on their own 
research experiences in the field to serve as commentators on the themes 
raised in the problem statements of participants. 

      Description of the Workshop

Interactions in today’s digital information environments blur the lines 
between the physical and the social, between a tool that one uses and a 
person with whom one communicates. These information systems are in fact 
socio-technical systems with a complex and interdependent system of 
dynamic and interrelated elements involving people, tools and 
information structures. Understanding the interplay between people, 
information and technology requires a fuller understanding of ways to 
examine this dynamic relationship in the context of practice in “real 
world” settings.

The philosophic traditions of ethnography can inform such research 
through the guidelines they provide for sensitizing observations in the 
field. With its emphasis on prolonged engagement and systematic 
observation of people in natural settings, this form of research 
generally involves rich descriptions of the situations observed and 
their sociocultural context. Ethnographic techniques provide a powerful 
way for researchers to study lived, everyday experiences. It is however 
imperative that any techniques applied to the study of these 
context-rich environments are consistent with ethnography’s core principles.

The workshop will address the following methodological problems or goals:
1: Increase understanding of how the ideals of an ethnographic approach 
can be translated into specific project goals.
2: Increase understanding of how a researcher can develop the 
appropriate skill set to investigate and understand the critical 
processes taking place in the situation under study whilst remaining 
true to the methodological holism that is the defining quality of 
3: In view of the limited time and resources faced by many researchers, 
compare best practices for how researchers employ ethnographic 
approaches with efficiency and expediency.

Discussants biographies:
= Elisabeth Davenport heads the Center for Social Informatics at Napier 
University and has a permanent visiting scholar appointment at the Rob 
Kling School of Informatics at Indiana University.  She is a senior 
scholar of social aspects of computing and has received a number of 
grants from the European Commission under the Information Society 
Technologies Programme.
= Brenda Dervin is full professor at the School of Communication and 
Joan N. Huber Fellow in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Ohio State 
University.  She is well known for the development and implementation of 
the Sense-Making Methodology, a philosophically derived approach for 
studying communication as communication.
= Elizabeth Figa is an assistant professor at the School of Library and 
Information Sciences, University of North Texas and a fellow of the 
Texas Center for Digital Knowledge. Her research includes ethnographies 
of information retrieval and human systems and ethnographies of 

All participants are invited to submit a brief problem statement (500 
words) describing the particular research challenge they wish to discuss 
within the workshop. Registered participants will have an opportunity 
prior to the workshop to review all the problem statements.

Prior to the workshop, organizers and invited discussants will review 
these statements to identify key themes and create small working groups 
for the ½ day session. The workshop will involve small group and full 
workshop sessions during which discussants will comment on the 
challenges being raised by workshop participants. The workshop will 
close with a discussion of some core principles and techniques.

ABSTRACTS: Send your 500-word problem statement to 
theresa.anderson at uts.edu.au by September 8, 2006

QUESTIONS: All questions, email Theresa Anderson 
(theresa.anderson at uts.edu.au <mailto:theresa.anderson at uts.edu.au>)

Members $40, non-members $50, before Sept. 22
Members $50, non-members $65, after Sept. 22
This half day course does not qualify for a $75 discount

NOTE: This 1/2 day workshop is being offered in conjunction with the 1/2 
day SIG-SI symposia: Interrogating the Social Realities of Information 
and Communications Systems on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006, 8:30am-12:30pm 
(separate fee <#fees#fees>)

For further information on both events, please go to 


Dr. Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson
Information and Knowledge Management Program
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007 Australia
telephone: +61 2 9514 2720
email: theresa.anderson at uts.edu.au

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