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Visioning Studies: A Socio-technical Approach to Designing the Future
Diane H. Sonnenwald - University College Dublin
Thursday, August 2, 12 noon – 1:15 PM
Rutgers University, School of Communication & Information, Faculty Lounge, Room 323
4 Huntington St., New Brunswick
It is increasingly important to understand the potential impact of future technology in complex contexts as early as possible in the research and development (R&D) cycle. Understanding the potential impact, including its interaction with social structures, helps inform computer science research and funding decisions. It identifies technology capabilities that may enhance the technology’s adoption and use, and reduce its unintended negative consequences. It also uncovers potential conflicts with current social structures, facilitating the identification of enhancements to social structures and/or practices to derive new benefits from the technology.
To understand the potential impact of future technology we have been developing a research approach called “visioning studies.” The primary goal of a visioning study is to understand the perspectives of individuals and organizations that might use the proposed future technology, and from this understanding develop socio-technical design recommendations in collaboration with computer science researchers. We have explored two visioning study approaches: a mixed method approach involving simulations, surveys and interviews; and a qualitative method approach in which a video depicting the technology vision embedded in relevant realistic scenarios is used in conjunction with semi-structured interviews. To date visioning studies have been conducted regarding 3D telepresence technology in emergency health care and future mobile technology in policing.
Diane H. Sonnenwald is Head of School and Professor of Information and Library Studies at UCD, Dublin, Ireland, and an adjunct professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is president of the American Society of Information Science & Technology, one of the largest information science organizations worldwide. Diane conducts research on collaboration and collaboration technology in a variety of contexts, including inter-disciplinary and inter-organizational collaboration in science, emergency healthcare, and police work. This research has been published in over 90 journal articles, conference papers and book chapters. Her work has been funded by national and international funding agencies, including the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, European Science Foundation, as well as private corporations and foundations. In 2002 Diane was a Fulbright Professor in Finland. Other awards and recognition include a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Scientific Contribution Award, UNC Junior Faculty Research Award, ALISE Research Methodology Best Paper Award, and Bell Communications Research Award of Excellence. Professor Sonnenwald has a PhD from the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University.