Interaction Analysis research foci
Reading again methodological paper is a good way to learn. That's what I did with B. Jordan and A. Henderson. Interaction Analysis: Foundations and Practice, The Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 4, Number 1, pages 39-103, 1995. This paper is a seminal article about this specific research method:
Interaction Analysis as we describe it here is an interdisciplinary method for the empirical investigation of the interaction of human beings with each other and with objects in their environment. It investigates human activities such as talk, nonverbal interaction, and the use of artifacts and technologies, identifying routine practices and problems and the resources for their solution
The whole thing is awesome but the part that interested me most is about the "foci for analysis", meaning the ways of looking data:
The structure of events: In the course of analysis, smaller units of coherent interaction within events are identified... such easily identifiable behavioral units "ethnographic chunks." Identifying ethnographic chunks is a possible first step towards analysis and may often overlap with content logging... Events of any duration are always segmented in some way. Frequently, there are "official" beginnings and endings....They have an internal structure that is recognized and maintained by participants... spatial orientation serves as a means of negotiating transitions from one segment to a next... Analytically, transitions from one segment of an event to another are often indicated by shifts in activity, heralded by changes in personnel, movement of participants in space, or the introduction and manipulation of new objects (...) The temporal organization of activity: (...) Interaction Analysis examines the temporal organization of moment-to-moment, real-time interaction... In a given environment, when there is a string of "same" activities, questions that arise include: In what sense are the repetitive segments identical? How much variability is allowed before a sequence is no longer "the same" and becomes something else for participants? How is such segmentation achieved? (...) Turn Taking: an Interaction-Analytic turn-taking system has to take into account more than talk: it encompasses the whole range of behaviors through which people can "take a turn," that is, participate in an interactional exchange system. Not only "turns at talk" must be considered, but also "turns with bodies" and "turns with artifacts." (...) Participation structures: the extent to which co-present individuals share a common task orientation and attentional focus. Mutual availability and alignment become visible in "participation frameworks (...) Trouble and Repair: the occurrence of "trouble" in a particular activity sphere (...) we need to take into account not only the verbal aspects of repair, but also the ways in which participants draw on their bodily, artifactual, spatial and social resources to mend infractions of projected sequences. (...) The Spatial Organization of Activity: many variations are possible and different social groups have developed particular ways of being in each others' presence (...) Artifacts and Documents: One of our central interests lies in understanding what kinds of activities and interactions particular material objects engender and support and how these change as different artifacts and technologies are introduced. (...) it is important to track where people's eyes are, when and how gaze moves between objects, from persons to objects, and back again, sustaining or shifting the focus of attention as the salience of particular objects or displays changes.
Why do I blog this? I may use interaction analysis technique to better understand how players interpreted mutual location-awareness in a virtual reality game and in a pervasive game (namely catchbob). In my case, the interesting thing is to look at certain of the issues mentioned previously with regards to how knowing partners' location in space is used, interpreted and mean.