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Collaborative Ethnography for Information Systems Research: Studying Knowledge Work Practices and Designing Supportive Information Systems

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Executive Summary

Understanding knowledge work and supporting it with Information Systems (ISs) are challenging tasks. Although there have been numerous studies on knowledge work in varying contexts, many of them are not detailed enough or outdated, particularly with respect to IS support. Knowledge work underwent dramatic changes over recent years, and empirical research studies into how knowledge work is currently performed are scarce. Ethnography would appear to be the most suitable qualitative research method for studying knowledge work, were it not too time-consuming, costly and unfocused for the fast-changing IS domain. Moreover, if the authors want to ensure the take-up of results from qualitative studies, these need to be transformed into artefacts for the design and engineering of IS requirements.

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