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You think you have problems with your research participants? : My research subjects don't have a pulse!

conference contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Jo-Anne LuckJo-Anne Luck
As a lecturer in information systems I am very interested in information technology and its uses, in particular the design and implementation of educational technologies used to support teaching and learning in higher education. I use actor-network theory (ANT) as a conceptual framework to research these technologies. ANT employs a sociotechnical approach that requires all actants (human and non-human) to be treated equally for the purposes of analysis. As a human and an ANT enthusiast, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma: is it intellectually desirable and politically responsible that 'agency' may be ascribed to non-human entities that cannot speak for themselves, thereby constructing them as potential stakeholders and/or gatekeepers? In this paper I will draw on ANT to investigate reflexively the risks and dilemmas of researching non-human entities. A nonhuman entity is a technical artefact such as a computer (it could also be an animal such as a scallop - see Callon (1986) - or a book or a policy). I will explore the various types of stakeholders and the types and roles of gatekeepers in an ANT informed study. Finally I will discuss using the metaphor of performativity as a tool to overcome the dilemmas and/or reduce the risks of researching socio-technical systems. Examples will be drawn from a study that investigates the implementation of an interactive video-conferencing network at a multi-campus, regional university in Australia.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Parent Title

NZARE AARE Conference 2003 : educational research, risks, & dilemmas, 29 November - 3 December 2003, Hyatt Regency Hotel and University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Start Page

1

End Page

8

Number of Pages

8

Start Date

01/01/2003

ISSN

1176-4902

Location

Auckland, N.Z.

Publisher

Australian Association for Research in Education

Place of Publication

Coldstream, Vic.

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Era Eligible

Yes

Name of Conference

Australian Association for Research in Education. Conference.;New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Conference.