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Volker Wulf, Volkmar Pipek, David Randall, Markus Rohde, Kjeld Schmidt, and Gunnar Stevens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733249

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198733249.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 May 2021

Investigation and Design

Investigation and Design

(p.221) 6 Investigation and Design

Dave Randall

Oxford University Press

The “turn to the social,” often conflated with the idea that ethnography presents new solutions to the problem of design and the world in which its results are embedded, remains contested. Debate is characterized by a range of epistemological commitments which can be summed up as entailing, variously, an “engineering” paradigm associated with structured design; the analysis of goals and means hierarchies (associated with some versions of cognitive science) for the purposes of interrogating “usability”; and a more sociological/anthropological (and humanistic psychological) perspective allied to concern for the “situated.” Even in the latter instance, however, a number of different stances can be identified. This chapter, then, discusses the “ethnographic” approach, how it is deployed in a wide range of contexts, and the role that disciplinary as against interdisciplinary thinking has in producing outcomes.

Keywords:   ethnography, interdisciplinary, sociological, anthropological, situated

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