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Copyright 2013 1 The Supervisor's Dilemma Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy, Canberra Visiting Professor in Computer Science, ANU, Canberra Visiting Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright 2013 1 The Supervisor's Dilemma Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy, Canberra Visiting Professor in Computer Science, ANU, Canberra Visiting Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy, Canberra Visiting Professor in Computer Science, ANU, Canberra Visiting Professor in Cyberspace Law & Policy, UNSW, Sydney {.html,.ppt} 26th Bled eConference – 10 June 2013

2 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma Agenda 1. General Statement of the Dilemma 2. eInteraction Research Realities 3. Specific Dimensions of the Dilemma 4. Resolution? Reconciliation? Avoidance?

3 Copyright Dilemma A condition in which the alternatives to be chosen among are equally unfavourable resulting in a position of doubt or perplexity

4 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma The Candidate's vs. Needs The Supervisor's Integrity Is Reconciliation Possible?

5 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma Contemporary disciplinary norms lead the candidate to adopt a a research perspective, a theoretical basis for research, a research design and/or rigour-relevance balance that may conflict with the supervisor's academic and professional values and personal integrity

6 Copyright Some Research Realities The Focus of the Bled eConference The eInteraction Research Domain Inter-Entity communications facilitated by electronic tools Entities may be human or machine Purpose is not limited, e.g. economic, social, hedonism It is irrelevant whether the communications occur within an organisational context or otherwise It encompasses technologies, technologies-in-use, and the politics of technologies and their uses

7 Copyright Key Characteristics of the eInteraction Research Domain Its Immaturity The Instability of the Phenomena Driven by Marketing Hype, Misinformation Innovators' 'Casino Mentality' The Vast Numbers of Confounding Variables The Interconnectedness among Phenomena The Inadequacies of Available Theories

8 Copyright Approaches to Research Pure Research (or 'Basic' Research) 'because its there' Applied Research Theory-driven or tool-driven 'normal science'

9 Copyright Approaches to Research Pure Research (or 'Basic' Research) 'because its there' Applied Research Theory-driven or tool-driven 'normal science' 'With a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail' Instrumentalist Research Problem-driven 'I need to firmly connect two pieces of timber, so find out how to do it'

10 Copyright Practical Realities IS and the eInteraction domain are not 'industrialised' Tightly-focussed training in 'normal science' isn't appropriate Instead, broad background needs to be developed in: the philosophy of research the full range of research techniques Much time and effort are invested in the learning process Considerable formalism is involved in satisfying examiners The dissertation must make a sufficient 'contribution' So the topic is very tightly focussed by the time of submission

11 Copyright The Candidate's Motivations Attain education and training relevant to the conduct of research Make a contribution to a discipline and/or a research domain Gain access to the research profession Gain a prenominal (Dr) or postnominal (PhD) as evidence of advanced university education...

12 Copyright The Supervisor's Motivations Develop the next generation of researchers, for reasons of service / altruism or deferred and indirect reciprocity Gain intellectual stimulation Have a junior colleague undertake work closely related to and contributing to the supervisor's own research Contribute to the supervisor's broader research program Project the supervisor's theories or methods to the world Have a research assistant Satisfy an expectation of the supervisor's employer or peers

13 Copyright Specific Dimensions of the Dilemma Researcher Perspective Theoretical Basis Empirical Research Design Rigour-Relevance Balance

14 Copyright Unit of Study / Unit of Analysis A technology, an event, an object, a person, a group, an organisational sub-unit, a legally-defined organisation, a relationship between entities (e.g. a dyad), an aggregation of organisations (e.g. an industry sector), a region, a nation

15 Copyright Unit of Study / Unit of Analysis A technology, an event, an object, a person, a group, an organisational sub-unit, a legally-defined organisation, a relationship between entities (e.g. a dyad), an aggregation of organisations (e.g. an industry sector), a region, a nation Perspective

16 Copyright The Problem of the Singular Perspective All observation has to be from a specific point of view Stakeholders' perspectives are diverse Stakeholders include: Customers Suppliers Providers of similar goods and services Providers of substitute goods or services Employees and contractors Usees Regulators The perspective adopted is usually that of one organisation Other stakeholder interests are excluded, marginalised, or treated as a constraint rather than an objective

17 Copyright Some Perspectives that are Under-Represented in eInteraction Research Individual Employees and Contractors Usees Affected individuals (e.g. suppliers, customers, licensees, other people whose data are handled by an organisation, people adjacent to an organisation's facilities) Industry Sectors and Industry Segments Economies Societies Humanity The Biosphere

18 Copyright Some Indicators of Under-Represented Perspectives 'Public Policy' The AIS Library – the term appears in 18 of 16,000 Abstracts The Bled Proceedings ( ) – in 0 of 600 Abstracts 'Privacy' The AIS Library – appears in 360 of 16,000 Abstracts But from the perspectives of marketers, not of people 'Green' Topics The AIS Library – 9 in , 19, 20, 28 and 34 in But almost all adopt the corporate view Very few adopt the perspective of humanity or the biosphere

19 Copyright Alternative Perspectives ==>> Additional Topics skills formation; employment and other income-distribution mechanisms; the differential needs of, and impacts on, people and communitities in urban, regional, rural and remote areas; impact and implications for cultural and linguistic minorities; technology design for people with physical and cognitive impairments; impacts of data surveillance on users and usees; consumer needs and consumer rights; and consumer marketing philosophies other than conventional, predatory, mass-marketing approaches, e.g. permission-based, consensual, micro-, 1-to-1, and non-mass

20 Copyright The Theoretical Basis for the Research 'Convenience Theories' or 'Fashion Theories' Cultural Factors Theory Hofstede 1980; but see McSweeney 2002 Innovation Diffusion Theory Rogers 1962; but see McMaster & Wastell 2005 Transaction Cost Theory Williamson 1981; but see Ghoshal & Moran 1996 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) Davis 1989; but see Benbasat & Barki 2007, Bagozzi 2007

21 Copyright Weak Empirical Research Designs - 1 Cases Semi-structured interviews aren't case studies Neither are shallow cases / vignettes Most cases are unauditable (the source is undeclared even to examiners / reviewers let alone readers) Surveys Of what people say they do, not what they actually do Failure to complement with in-depth information Proxy populations and sampling frames (esp. students) Over-surveyed populations, minuscule response rates

22 Copyright Weak Empirical Research Designs – 2 Convenience Samples 'snowball sampling' open invitations to fill in a web-form Convenience Data long lists of highly ambiguous questions forced choice 5 or 7 highly ambiguous points highly ambiguous scales assumption that the data is on a ratio scale 'Likert scales' are a contrivance They produce misleading and even dangerous results

23 Copyright Rigour and Intellectualism Dominate Relevance Clearly, cet. par., more rigour is to be preferred to less However, all other things are seldom equal The eInteraction domain creates enormous challenges (Slide 6) High levels of rigour make demands of researchers that conflict with the need for the results to be useful A trade-off has to be achieved between rigour and relevance But, instead, topics are favoured for their researchability rather than for the value that they can deliver

24 Copyright Tensions The Candidate's Interest in the Mainstream vs. The Supervisor's Professional Integrity Researcher Perspective Theoretical Basis Empirical Research Design Rigour-Relevance Balance

25 Copyright Conclusions Resolution ? Reconciliation ? Avoidance ? … ?

26 Copyright 'Design Science' + 'Critical Theory'? Design Science tries to draw the researcher back into contact with the needs of the real world, ground it, and deny abstract, intellectualist social science Critical Theory recognises the political dimension of IT applications – the interests and agendas of the players that exercise institutional and market power, and the tensions and the balances among competing forces in influencing the design of technologies and their applications

27 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma Agenda 1. General Statement of the Dilemma 2. eInteraction Research Realities 3. Specific Dimensions of the Dilemma 4. Resolution? Reconciliation? Avoidance?

28 Copyright The Supervisor's Dilemma Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy, Canberra Visiting Professor in Computer Science, ANU, Canberra Visiting Professor in Cyberspace Law & Policy, UNSW, Sydney {.html,.ppt} 26th Bled eConference 10 June 2013


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