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Customer: as the overall aim of Contextual Design is the creation of a computer system, respondents/subjects are referred to as customers.
One approach to tackling the problem of handling a wealth of ethnographic data was used by Dearden and Wright (1997) who used a mix of situated and non-situated approaches. The study reported by Dearden and Wright (1997) was subject to time constraints (22 person days) and was intended to analyse the ‘quality of fit’ between the work undertaken by a specific group of office workers and the IT system which had been put in place to support the work. The time constraint of the study meant that time could not be lost handling large amounts of ethnographic data. Dearden and Wright (1997) therefore used an ethnographic technique (contextual inquiry) for observing the work in context after having had a training session to quickly learn the procedures and terminology in use. As the focus of the work was welldefined it was possible for them to use non-structured techniques such as semi-structured interviews and rich pictures as used in soft systems analysis (Patching, 1990). The understanding of the work was validated by the use of three techniques:
Model building: this forces the researcher to work through his or her understanding of the situation.
Challenging assumptions: the researchers returned to the organisation and presented groups of interviewees with a number of propositions or assumptions, some of which were deliberately contentious, in order to encourage debate.
Wish Lists: The researchers made suggestions and created a ‘wish list’ from open-ended questions in the interviews. The wish list was then presented to the groups of interviewees (who did not know which were suggestions made by the researchers and which had come from the interviews) in order to obtain more ‘wishes.’ The final list was put into groups and then displayed for discussion.
The mix of situated and non-situated techniques, using models to handle some of the data, appeared to work very well for Dearden and Wright (1997) allowing them to undertake the research, handle the data and report within a short time scale.
APPENDIX 2: EXAMPLE FLOW MODEL[*]
Figure 1: Example Flow Model
Figure 2: Example Flow Model—Detail
[*]In these appendices, there are examples of the different models which are used in Contextual Design. Some of the models are very large, therefore the reduced representations shown are only intended to give an overall impression of what the model will look like. Where appropriate a small section of the model has been magnified to give the reader more detail about the type of information which might appear in the model.