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ERIC Number: EJ890467
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
Enabling Science and Technology Research Teams: A Breadmaking Metaphor
Pennington, Deana
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v33 n1 2010
Anyone who has been involved with a cross-disciplinary team that combines scientists and information technology specialists knows just how tough it can be to move these efforts forward. Decades of experience point to the transformative potential of technology-enabled science efforts, and the success stories offer hope for future efforts. But for every success story there are many failures, particularly in the natural and social sciences, which have not traditionally used advanced technologies. Despite good intentions and many hours in arduous meetings, these efforts often go quietly into the night--or occasionally screaming into oblivion. This situation does not seem to be unique to research teams. Campus IT professionals in all capacities are thrust into settings where they must work with nontechnical colleagues. Often these efforts are problematic: miscommunication leads to good technical solutions that unfortunately do not meet user needs; tempers flare, and the result is high stress for everyone. The technology revolution on campus sometimes resembles something from a horror novel--unexpected monsters cropping up in unexpected places. Yet there remains the vision of technology revolutionizing academia in general, and the sciences in particular. Achieving this vision, though, requires overcoming the barriers to collaboration. First, though, the barriers must be understood. After years of working as a scientist on a number of these teams and observing that their collaboration issues were not unique, the author sets out to better understand the process of collaboration and to develop models of collaboration that could inform these efforts. The issues are complex. There are many different ways of thinking about them, and many different disciplinary perspectives provide relevant research findings. Fully articulating the issues would require a large volume, or more likely several volumes. In dealing with the copious relevant literature, the author has found it useful to structure the issues through use of a breadmaking metaphor. Each element of the metaphor relates to various lines of research that contribute to an understanding of the e-research process. In this article, the author presents the metaphor along with a few insights from ongoing research in the hope that others engaged in similar efforts can take advantage of these concepts, which she has found useful. (Contains 1 table, 1 figure and 6 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A