Current Research Interests
- Design, Implementation and Use of Health Information Technologies;
- Gender and the Design of Technological Systems;
- Gender, Technology and Communication;
- Impacts of Technological Change on Women and Minorities;
- Participatory Design and Participatory Ergonomics;
- Public Participation in Technology Assessments;
- Technology and Public Policy;
- Use of Computer Networks for Social Change;
- User Participation in Design of Technological Systems;
- Women’s Occupational Health;
- Science, technology and society perspectives on artistic production.
2011-2013 Principal investigator, Genome B.C. Strategic Opportunities Fund (Competition #4) Project title: Using Science, Technology, and Society Studies
Research to Move Genomics Discoveries from Bench to Bedside: Identification of Data Integration and Socio-technical Issues Arising in Personalized Medicine & Translational Bioinformatics. ($108,238 from Genome BC, $35,000 cash from other sources in addition to in-kind).
2011-2013: Principal investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grant.
Project title: The Technology of Art and the Art of Technology ($106,396).
Problem or issue to be addressed: Large scale computing infrastructures (referred to as cyberinfrastructures in the U.S. and e-science initiatives elsewhere) frequently fall far short of articulated goals and expectations. In spite of ample literature about the development and implementation of information technology (IT) in the information science, computing and business domains, stories of cost over-runs and failed systems abound. Several recent studies have suggested that only 1 in 3 IT projects succeed, where success is defined in terms of projects delivered on time, on budget and with promised features.
Research outlined here seeks to develop new insights to guide the development and implementation of cyberinfrastructures by looking in a new direction — at how visual artists understand and interact with the technologies they use in their daily art practices.
The purpose of this project is to learn about the material characteristics of technology to inform the development of a typology to guide system design and implementation. Visual artists work with a variety of technologies in their daily art practice. For example, photographers use cameras, lenses and papers; acrylic painters use paints (in varying pigmentation strength and thickness), mediums and gels, brushes, palette knives and other technologies. As they work, artists develop knowledge of the affordances and constraints of the technologies with which they work, which they often exploit for creative effect. Artistic practices have given rise to insights about the nature of technology that may be applicable to the use of technology in other contexts– for example that context matters (e.g., in perception of color), that altering the scale of a piece of art can change how viewers see or read it, etc.
This project seeks to develop new strategies to guide cyberinfrastructural development by focusing on the material aspects of technology. Research outlined here is rooted in science, technology and society studies, and is part of a ‘new sociology of art’ which seeks to apply the insights from the sociology of art to “non-art ‘stuff’” and frames questions so they are compatible with social constructionism. This research addresses theoretical gaps in science, technology and society studies and information sciences literatures by focusing on the material aspects of technology. It responds to calls for bold new approaches to studying the materiality of technology and calls to compare radically different technologies by exploring the materiality of technology by investigating how visual artists think about technology, and using insights generated to develop a typology of technology affordances and constraints, which will be applied to cyberinfrastructures.
Potential Contribution of Research to the Advancement of Knowledge: This research has the potential to yield new insights about the nature of technology, which can help guide development and implementation of computing infrastructures in the future, and will contribute to the development of new theoretical models in science, technology and society studies. The resulting typology will help those involved in the design and implementation of technology in general and cyberinfrastructures in particular by serving as a means through which the complexity of technologies can be made more transparent. Developing a better understanding of the characteristics and properties of technology can help us develop strategies and mechanisms for anticipating and responding to the complexities of contemporary technological systems. This work will help build a dialogue between artists and technologists, both of whom serve to benefit from greater interaction across what is often perceived as an art/ technology divide.
2008-2011: Research Team Leader, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, 2007/2008 Team Start-Up Grant.
Project title: Health Innovation Design and Evaluation (HeIDE) Research Team. ($225,000).
- The HeIDE Team will improve the quality of evidence used in decision making about information technologies (IT) used for collecting epidemiological data in BC by conducting research about IT use for epidemiological data collection. We will:
- assess early technology trials to identify technological, organizational, governance and implementation challenges associated with increased use of IT for collecting epidemiological data;
- address data quality issues arising from increased use of IT for epidemiological data collection, particularly issues associated with data merging;
- improve links among researchers, decision makers and technology developers across disciplines who share an interest in e-epidemiology.
2007-2012: Recipient, Senior Scholar Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. (Health Services Adjudication Committee).
Project title: Health Innovation Design and Evaluation. ($100,000 / year for 5 years).
- Areas of focus:
- to conduct work practice studies of new technology implementations in the health sector;
- to conduct research that addresses the relationship between health sector technology governance and patient safety;
- to conduct research concerned with the relationship between health information technology system deisgn and the quality and availability of health indicators.