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Title:Narratives of Engagement: Working at the Intersections of Information, Social, and Domain Science
Author(s):Ribes, David; Borgman, Christine L.; Finholt, Thomas A.; Baker, Karen S.; Bowker, Geoffrey C.
social science
information science
Abstract:Engagement – sometimes called action research, contribution, or intervention – is the participation of the researcher in the object of study. It is a key contemporary feature in making iSchool research accessible and relevant to broader communities. However, it also presents novel challenges for the traditional academic endeavor. We have many ‘shorthands’ for these difficulties: misaligned reward structures, diverging goals, miscommunication across heterogeneous expertises, multiple membership, challenges of multidisciplinary collaboration, or unrealistic expectations on social science. Often these difficulties are precisely what our research attempts to address but only rarely do we give ourselves leeway to discuss how they affect our own practice. We have arranged this session to open and encourage discourse on the experiences, approaches and outcomes of engagement. The core of the presentations will be centered on storytelling. Stories, or narratives, are ideal devices for capturing and conveying the complexities of real world field experiences. The four participants in this interactive panel will recount exemplary narratives of their engagement at the intersections of social research, information studies and domain sciences. These stories will serve as the material for an open discussion. Our participants were selected both for their diverse modes of interface with their objects of study and a shared commitment to engaging social /information/domain science. This includes a range of activities stretching from policy recommendations, to participant observation or contributions to technology design; from distanced roles such as ‘shrink wrapped’ consulting, to long view historical studies, to becoming a daily members and ‘stakeholders’ in the success of projects.
Issue Date:2008-02-28
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-11

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