[Research] HCI/CSCW and theories
Reading a review of Dourish's 'Where The Action Is" by M. Chalmers, I stumbled across this quote: "In our field, theory is like the public library. If asked, most of us would say that we are glad that it is around - but fea of us actually go there". It is actually what I feel, not because I do better than the other! It's rather that it's difficult to find the research rationale in lots of HCI/CSCW papers. The emphasis is often put on designing a new 'thing', sometimes on creating a new technique or method (data analysis for instance) or implementing a new technology (vow wimax! what could we do with it?) and rarely on evaluating technologies. The epistomological concerns seems to be often left out, as if theoretical issues were just bothering issues. I feel concern by this because my background is cognitive psychology (with a strong experiment spin). The confrontation of this experimental way of working with other really compelling methods (like much more qualitative ones: ethnography, anthropology, ...) is definitely interesting. Now that I learnt how to use those other methods (in various research projects like video games or locative media testing/design), I am happy to have opened my scope to other things that 'experiments'. It was also an opportunity to understand when applying which kind of method. Maybe that's why I now feel more concerned by epistemological issues.