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Using action research in information systems design to address change: a South African health information systems case study

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Byrne, E. (2005). Using action research in information systems design to address change: a South African health information systems case study. In Proc. Ann. Res. Conf. South African Inst. of computer scientists and information technologists on IT research in developing countries. pp. 131-141.

Original abstract: This paper advocates for the use of Action Research (AR) approaches in the designing of Information Systems (IS). Following a brief overview of the history of AR as a research methodology and it’s use in IS research a framework for describing the AR process is developed. This framework is then used to describe the AR process involved in the design and development of a paper based and orally communicated child health IS. A common criticism of AR in IS design is the focus on the output of the design and the lack of rigour in the description of AR projects. This paper addresses this gap by focusing on the process of the design and development of the IS in the case study, but also contributes to AR by outlining a number of concerns which should be addressed by the IS researcher if AR is to viewed as rigourous. The concerns which need to be addressed are the need: to make explicit the epistemology of the researcher(s) or practitioner(s) in any AR project; to adopt a participatory AR and longitudinal approach to avoid the conflict of ‘serving two masters’; to develop networks of action, and; to develop and disseminate generalisations and learnings from the research.

This paper is available online from http://tinyurl.com/t597m

Rubric for the reading group: Everyone attending is expected to read the paper in advance. Please bring a copy with you, preferably annotated with interesting reflections. The format of discussion will be a brief invited introduction/critique by two members of the group, followed by general discussion and informal mixing.

This talk is part of the Crucible/Microsoft HCI Reading Group series.

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