Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Studying the blur; hunting for elusive objects

The more i look, the less distinct my research becomes, what hope then for any reader?

It is with joy that I discover, again, the writing of Casper Jensen who found it so hard to know his own object of study, the electronic patient record.

I take heart from this for I am studying emergent changes in counselling wrought with technology in a youth counselling centre. To explain to others that I am studying change, and my focus happens to be a youth counselling centre undergoing change as it alters its ways of relating because of technologies such as text and email and internet message board processes is also correct.
But then the problems start coming in thick and fast for when i voice this I am asked for a clear delineation of whether text counselling is good or bad or should even be called counselling. And that's where it gets trickier, because counselling is an indistinct entity also.
Pop on top of that the study of change and looking for what's there now but wasn't then, or what wasn't present then but is now, plus consideration for what was planned with what actually occurred, as well as the sequalae of a ripple effect ... a fractal object spread in textual artefacts occurring within a network of moving actors and of no clear geographical location ... and it feels like I'm studying a blur.
I am heartened that i am not alone for Casper Jensen also writes of conversations assuming involvement in the practical development of a specific technology. Alternatively the political processes relating to current events; and asked for evaluative judgments of good or bad. He says "Such understandings are rather far from the mark, however, offering a lucid exposition of just what and where that mark is has proven insistently elusive throughout my project."

At least i am not alone
And thankyou Peter for introducing me to endnote groups as it was because i reopened Casper Jensen's article to decide what topics to place it under that this gem of insight fell out.

Jensen, C. B. (2004). Experimental devices. Studies in STS and electronic patient records. University of Aarhus, Aarhus.

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