Saturday, September 01, 2007

computer mouse and innovation

The mouse in
Wendy Warren's thesis
While E-magining English literacies, her thesis provided a performance in its own right (write? rite? ). The mouse wrote, had voice, or at least its own paragraph.
A performance involving human as well as non human actors.
The constraining structures of academia also had effect. Her describing rather than using a calligraphy E being one example.

In studying a sensitive research area, youth counselling via the internet, there are constraints. These are well founded- I do not want to do anyone harm. At the same time an absence of evidence base for practice also does harm. Maintaining the status quo supports current practice by default.

Back to progressing an ethics application-
1. how to be convincing on the absence of harm for young people. The target group this agency works with are 14-24yrs, participants could be as young as 12. I have argued against the need or desirability for having parental consent. I need to extend this argument to convince a committee that young people involved will be protected from harm in being involved.
2. rewrite the plain language statement so that a panel of grown ups with the best interests of young people at heart can read it. It needs to be plainer. I agree, despite the proof reading supplied by a 15 yr old this was conceptually at least, at too high a level.
3. review section on anonymity for those who developed or support the software involved for counselling; as these people will have been identified by others as relevant to this study, I need to make it clear to these people that their anonymity may be unable to be protected.
4. say how long a piece of string is, where consenting grown ups are interviewed, specify (again) the number of minutes involved.

I'm beginning to wonder about the conundrums created in expecting a PhD to add to new knowledge, while the constraints restraining how this be done are so binding.
Meantime my computer is going slower, the spinning beachball is more common, the mouse freezes, crashes, a battery holding less and less charge...
The 3 year lease expired today, how long does it take a bureaucracy to get a new one up and running
Despite Latour not believing in conspiracy theories or social forces, this little ant's endeavour is in danger of being quashed by forces human, (in)humane and/or non human.

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