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Artefacts as designed, Artefacts as used: resources for uncovering activity dynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2005
JournalCognition, Technology and Work
Journal number2
Volume7
Number of pages12
Pages76-87
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper addresses the use of artefacts as a powerful resource for analysis, focusing on the artefact as designed as a means of eliciting the designers explicit and implicit knowledge and artefacts as used as a means of uncovering the trail left by currently inactive processes. Artefact analysis is particularly suitable in situations where direct observation is ineffective, especially in activities that occur infrequently. We demonstrate the usefulness of our technique through the analysis of artefacts within both the office and the meeting environment. This is part of a wider study aimed at understanding the nature of decisions in meetings with the view of producing a tool to aid decision management and hence reduce rework. We conclude by drawing out some general lessons from our analysis, which reaffirms the intricate role that artefacts play in maintaining activity dynamics.