Conceptual frameworks for research Conceptualizing social practices



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Conceptual frameworks for research: Intermediate Concept Construction & Conceptualizing Units of Analysis

  • Conceptual frameworks for research

  • Conceptualizing social practices

  • Unit of analysis (activity theory)

  • Intermediate concept construction

  • Sociocultural or cultural historical school

  • Contexts

  • Alternative frameworks


Conceptual frameworks for research

  • Conceptual frameworks for research

    • Selective by necessity
      • What do you want to know?
      • How can you know about it? How can you see it?
      • Who to include?
      • Always: Who, what, when, where, why and how?
    • Building up understanding along the way: as an individual researcher or in a research team
      • Building a cumulative picture
      • Mapping knowledge and understandings


Conceptual frameworks for research

  • Conceptualizing social practices, activities, and interactions

    • How do you conceptualize your object of inquiry?
    • Visible <-> Invisible
    • Front stage <-> back stage
    • Production <-> Reproduction
    • Roles, relations & responsibilities
    • Perspectives, identities
    • How is the phenomenon held together?
      • Intermediaries, coordination


Conceptual frameworks for research

  • Contexts of activities

    • Organizational context
    • Sociohistorical context
    • Situated contexts
    • How contexts interact & co-construct instances of activities


Intermediate Concept Construction & Conceptualizing Units of Analysis

  • Unit of analysis (activity theory, K. Kuutti)

  • Intermediate concept construction

    • Activity: between structures and individuals
    • Between concepts (theory lenses) and data
      • What you see in the field, on the ground
      • How concepts “live,” situated in contexts in the field
      • Making sense of field research
    • Where and how to see activities (social practices, interactions)
      • communication, coordination
      • collaboration, co-construction
      • “Where” and how perspectives come together


Intermediate Concept Construction & Conceptualizing Units of Analysis

  • Unit of analysis (activity theory)

    • “One should be able to delineate the object of research and to draw a boundary between the object and the background, and one should be able to find an entity in which all the threads of research can be conveniently connected.” (Kuutti, p. 249)
  • Activity system (lifeworld)

    • Object(s) of activity
      • irreducibly material and ideal
      • shared object(s)


Intermediate Concept Construction & Conceptualizing Units of Analysis

  • Unit of analysis (activity theory)

  • Activity system (lifeworld)

    • Developmental work research
      • Graphical representation (Engeström)
      • Mapping, analysis, visualization
      • Communities of practice, larger communities
      • Networks of activity systems, communities


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks: Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Sociocultural, cultural historical school

    • Voice, social languages, genres
    • Dialogicality, polyphony, heteroglossia (Bakhtin)
    • Argumentative structure of thinking, heterogeneity
    • Conversation analysis, discourse analysis are common methods


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks: Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Internal structure of activities (Leontiev)

  • oriented by, guided by

    • activity <-> object of activity (motive)
    • actions <-> goals
    • operations <-> conditions


Cultural Historical Activity Theory: Context, Intermediate Concepts & Units of Analysis

  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Unit of analysis (activity theory, K. Kuutti)

  • Contexts of activities

    • In activity theory, the basic unit of analysis requires “an intermediate concept -- a minimal meaningful context for individual actions . . . an activity. Because the context is included in the unit of analysis, the object of our research is always essentially collective, even if our main interest lies in individual actions.” (Kuutti, p. 254)


Cultural Historical Activity Theory: Context, Intermediate Concepts & Units of Analysis

  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Dialectical materialist perspective

  • Contexts of activities

    • Organizational context
    • Sociohistorical context
    • Situated contexts
    • How contexts interact & co-construct instances of activities


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks: Actor-Network Theory

    • Actor-Network (for example)
      • Heterogeneous ensembles of people and artifacts, human and non-human actors/actants
      • Semiotic analysis
      • Technologies, systems, applications, artifacts as actors
        • ontologies of non-human actants ->actors
      • Intermediaries between actors, co-constructing, enrolling, translating, inscribing, aligning actor-networks


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks: Actor-Network Theory

    • Actor-Network Theory
      • ex: laboratory information system, defining the actor-network for standards-making (Hanseth & Monteiro)
      • ex: middleware for interoperability: virtual ethnography of technology-in-the-making and collaboration among competitors (semiotic analysis, including analysis of gestures, metaphors) (S. Newman)


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks

    • Other examples
    • Ex: Participatory design of IS for a Film-Television-Radio company: thinking about who to include in the research and development? (Kensing & Simonsen)


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks

    • Other examples
    • Ex: Unit of analysis for study of influence of television coverage of the Intefada, comparative study of Jewish and Arab Israeli families


Alternative Conceptual Frameworks

    • Other examples . . .



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