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Activity Systems Analysis in Design Research

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Activity Systems Analysis in Design Research

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This is a talk about activity systems analysis and its application for design research. This talk was prepared for students and faculty at Florida State University.

This is a talk about activity systems analysis and its application for design research. This talk was prepared for students and faculty at Florida State University.

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Activity Systems Analysis in Design Research

  1. 1. Activity Systems Analysis in Design Research<br />Lisa Yamagata-Lynch<br />Associate Professor<br />University of Tennessee at Knoxville<br />LisaYL@utk.edu<br />http://www.lisayamagatalynch.net/<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Design Research<br /><ul><li>Understanding human activity in real-world situations with data collection, analysis, and presentation methods that address the complexities of human activity in natural settings aimed to advance both theory and practice</li></ul>Design Experiments (Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992)<br />Design-Based Research (Barab & Squire, 2004; The Design-Based Researcher Collective, 2003)<br />Development research (Reeves, 2006, Wang & Hanaffin, 2005) <br />2<br />
  3. 3. Analyze Real-World Data with Activity Systems<br />Design Research<br />Disseminate Research Results<br />Develop and Disseminate Insights on Methodology<br />Empower Participants to Voice their Real-World Situations<br />Big Question to myself: <br />Am I really doing this, and can I do it all at once?<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Why Activity Systems Analysis for Studying Design?<br />Design and development is an in-the-moment activity that is difficult to document, analyze, and communicate with others<br />For example:<br />http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/business/energy-environment/26smart.html<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Passive Home Design AnalysisBy LYL and ETR 790 2010 Students<br />5<br />
  6. 6. CHAT and Activity Systems Analysis<br />Cultural Historical Activity Theory goes back to Vygotsky’s work in the 1920s to 1930s<br />Activity systems analysis is one data analysis method within CHAT developed by Engeström in late 1980s<br />Many existing authors refer to activity systems analysis and activity theory synonymously, but I do not see it that way<br />CHAT and activity systems analysis is a great perspective/methodological tool for analyzing complex qualitative data sets<br />6<br />
  7. 7. Vygotsky’s Main Concepts<br />Mediated Action<br />Interpersonal Communication Process<br />Reprinted with permission of Cambridge University Press. Cole, M., & Engeström, Y. (1993). A cultural-historical approach to distributed cognition. In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations (pp. 1-46). New York: Cambridge University Press.<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Criticisms of Vygotsky's Work<br />Dualistic language—external and internal problem (Galperin, 1992)<br />Person-solo-centered (Matusov, 1998)<br />Theory stayed relational and not transformational (Stesenko, 2009)<br />8<br />
  9. 9. Post Vygotsky--Kharkovites<br />Deal with internal/external problem<br />Human activity<br />Unit of analysis = both mental and observable behavior<br />Mental activity = sign<br />Occurs in collective context<br />Object-oriented activity and goal-directed actions (Leontiev, 1981)<br />9<br />
  10. 10. Understanding the Object<br />Object<br />Goal, motive, or material product<br />Reason why individuals choose to participate in an activity <br />Holds the activity together<br />10<br />
  11. 11. Activity Systems Model<br />Engeström introduced activity systems analysis as an analytical method in activity theory by broadening the concept of mediated action<br />Tensions may arise<br />Reprinted with permission of Yrjö Engeström. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-KonsultitOy. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Paper/Engestrom/expanding/toc.htm<br />11<br />
  12. 12. Passive Home Design AnalysisBy LYL and ETR 790 2010 Students<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Activity Systems Analysis Advantages in Design Research<br />Provides new methods for designers to extract the essence of complex data sets in a graphic model that they can communicate with others (Yamagata-Lynch, 2010)<br />Can capture educational change as it occurs rather than as it is hypothesized to occur (Rasmussen & Ludvigsen, 2009), and as designers we are often interested in what is happening rather than what we hypothesize will happen<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Advantages of Activity Systems Analysis to Qualitative Research<br />Manageable unit of analysis<br />Systemic implications<br />Systemic contradictions and tensions <br />Communicating findings<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Manageable unit of analysis<br />Extracts information from massive and complex qualitative data set while maintaining the integrity of the contextual influences on human activity<br />Can help identify solutions that take into account how the entire situation would be affected including the participants, social context, outcomes, and future activities <br />15<br />
  16. 16. Systemic Implications<br />Identifies relationships among activities<br />16<br />
  17. 17. Systemic Contradictions and Tensions<br />Highlights how systemic contradictions and tensions can drive transformations in human activity<br />Portrays how human activity transforms in relation to the context as well as how it transforms the context<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Communicate Findings<br />Allows investigators to communicate findings from a holistic perspective by anchoring discussions in units of activity<br />18<br />
  19. 19. Future Discussions to Inform Design Research<br />Practical applications<br />Methodological issues<br />Transferability of applications and methodologies<br />19<br />
  20. 20. Questions?<br />20<br />

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