A Double Helix Relationship of Use and Redesign in IS
InSITE 2006 • Volume 6 • 2006
In the past, Information Systems Research (ISR) mainly has focused on developing, designing, and implementing computerized parts of informing systems. Even studies from a "user" perspective relate to information and communication technology (ICT), often on an abstract level. Since the advent of the ICT industry there has been a tendency to describe professionals in their practice, or people in their daily lives as ‘users’ of ICT. It is not obvious why this label should be applied. The ICT industry offers products and services to professionals and to people in their daily lives. These products and services require critical assessment to see what helps whom in particular situations. There is also a need to appraise them with respect to unintended consequences. Such critical assessment furnishes challenges to the ICT industry. More ISR seems to be needed with the intention of learning both from earlier ICT projects and from research carried out in other fields. This could comprise studying uses of earlier ICT artifacts and studies of how to redesign them to make people better informed and more knowledgeable. Becoming better informed and more knowledgeable calls for a lot of learning and unlearning. These processes always have to start from the situations in which the learners live. Designers of new ICT artifacts have not always been fully aware of this fundamental prerequisite for learning. We believe one way of supporting this kind of ISR is to reflect on the question: ‘In which ways could studies of the use-side particularly benefit from a relationship to philosophical frameworks such as hermeneutics and phenomenology?’
Information Systems Research, Systems Analysis, Hermeneutic Dialectics, Phenomenology, Critical Systems Thinking.
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