books to read and plan

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Sam Ladner

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May 24, 2006, 10:20:02 AM5/24/06
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Hi all,

 

Thrilled to be part of this…think it’s totally cool.

 

I agree with Steve’s idea of Geertz. This notion of “thick description” is where it’s at from a design-driven research perspective. I’m a sociologist and I think anthropology isn’t the only discipline here – it’s just observational research that we’re interested in. Anthropologists are trained to do it, and so are sociologists.

 

As a sessional prof at York, I find that’s the hardest thing for students to learn is how to observe. They often report, “She was being stupid,” instead of “She flipped her hair back, smiled at him, and tipped her head sideways.” There is a difference.

 

So what’s the deal? We set a book/reading and then meet? When?

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Mitchell Gass

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May 24, 2006, 1:40:03 PM5/24/06
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I'd like to have Activity Theory in the plan. Bonnie Nardi's book
Context and Consciousness

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262140586/

which has been on my unread book shelf too long, is one possibility.
Are there other books that would be good introductions?

Mitchell Gass
uLab | PDA: Learning from Users | Designing with Users
Berkeley, CA 94707 USA
+1 510 525-6864 voice
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Mitchell Gass

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May 24, 2006, 2:28:22 PM5/24/06
to User Research Theory Study Group Planning
I'd like to see Activity Theory in the plan. Bonnie Nardi's book

Steve Portigal

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May 24, 2006, 3:54:46 PM5/24/06
to Sam Ladner, theor...@googlegroups.com
Sam Ladner wrote:
Hi all,
 
Thrilled to be part of this…think it’s totally cool.
 
I agree with Steve’s idea of Geertz.

That was Mick, actually.

This notion of “thick description” is where it’s at from a design-driven research perspective. I’m a sociologist and I think anthropology isn’t the only discipline here – it’s just observational research that we’re interested in. Anthropologists are trained to do it, and so are sociologists.
 
As a sessional prof at York, I find that’s the hardest thing for students to learn is how to observe. They often report, “She was being stupid,” instead of “She flipped her hair back, smiled at him, and tipped her head sideways.” There is a difference.
 
So what’s the deal? We set a book/reading and then meet? When?

We're more than 60 and we're distributed across the globe, so physically meeting may be a tough first step. I'm open to ideas, but I can see
- email
- Skype conf calls
- some sort of NetMeeting type of thing (what's free?) - where we can do a presentation as well as text-chat
- Campfire from 37signals - a free group chat via the web
- opportunistic meetings (as has been suggested) at events where a few of us might be in attendance

Steve Portigal -- http://www.portigal.com
blog -- http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com

Ethan

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May 24, 2006, 6:40:25 PM5/24/06
to Steve Portigal, theor...@googlegroups.com
From an anthropological perspective (are there any other
anthropologists in the room to back me up - or correct - I'm just a
humble archaeologist), Clifford Geertz's concept of Thick Description is
pretty much him term for ethnography (or, better yet, the result of
ethnographic research.)

Cheers,

Ethan

> <http://www.portigal.com/>blog -- http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com
> <http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com/>
> >


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Faculty - Dept of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media
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Michigan State University
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stevroc

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May 25, 2006, 9:51:05 AM5/25/06
to User Research Theory Study Group Planning
Ethan-
I think it's more how *Geertz* thinks how ethnography should be done -
which is actually a pretty important departure from how ethnography has
been done in the past. It's not just writing down the tiny motions in a
timeline fashion, but understanding the symbols and subtext of such
motions - and what those symbols mean in the culture at hand. That's
where it gets "thick".
I would agree with the person's post who suggested that Thick
Description might be a good platform from which to launch this
discussion on theory.

-Stev

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