"The strengths of qualitative research methods lie in their usefulness for understanding the meaning and context of the phenomena studied, and the particular events and processes that make up these phenomena over time, in real-life, natural settings .When evaluating computer information systems, these contextual issues include social, cultural, organizational, and political concerns surrounding an information technology; the processes of information systems development, installation, and use (or lack of use); and how all these are conceptualized and perceived by the participants in the setting where the study is being conducted ."
(Bonnie Kaplan and Joseph A. Maxwell, p.31, 2005)
Kaplan, B. and J. Maxwell (2005). Qualitative Research Methods for Evaluating Computer Information Systems. Evaluating the Organizational Impact of Healthcare Information Systems. J. Anderson and C. Aydin. New York, Springer: 30-55.
"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web-based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.
Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet-enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.
Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non-disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.
Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio-technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.
As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self-surveillance, self-discipline and self-advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self-determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.
Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."
(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)
"Boundary Functions shows us that personal space exists only in relation to others and changes without our control. ...
By projecting the diagram, the invisible relationships between individuals and the space between them become visible and dynamic. The intangible notion of personal space and the line that always exists between you and another becomes concrete. The installation doesn't function at all with one person, as it requires a physical relationship to someone else. In this way Boundary Functions is a reversal of the lonely self-reflection of virtual reality, or the frustration of virtual communities: here is a virtual space that can only exist with more than one person, and in physical space.
The title, Boundary Functions, refers to Theodore Kaczynski's 1967 University of Michigan PhD thesis. Better known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski is a pathological example of the conflict between the individual and society: engaging with an imperfect world versus an individual solitude uncompromised by the presence of others. The thesis itself is an example of the implicit antisocial quality of some scientific discourse, mired in language and symbols that are impenetrable to the vast majority of society. In this installation, a mathematical abstraction is made instantly knowable by dynamic visual representation."
(Scott Snibbe, 1998)
Fig.1 Scott Snibbe (1998). "Boundary Functions".
"The theme of the lecture addresses a question: how can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? To explore this question, I'll draw on research in the social sciences about cooperation, based on my book, and relate this research to current issues in urban design."
(Harvard Graduate School of Design, 28 February 2012)
"Sherry Turkle is a professor, author, consultant, researcher, and licensed clinical psychologist who has spent the last 30 years researching the psychology of people's relationships with technology. She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Her many books include a trilogy on digital technology and human relationships: 'The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit,' 'Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet,' and most recently, 'Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.' Her investigations show that technology doesn't just catalyze changes in what we do -- it affects how we think."
(Sherry Turkle, 2011)
Fig.1 "TEDxUIUC - Sherry Turkle - Alone Together", Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 25 Mar 2011.