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The practice-centered research program in CSCW

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European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)


As a research area, CSCW was formed in response to the early development and use of collaboration technologies, as researchers from different disciplines and in different practical domains began to try to understand the potentials and issues of these new technologies. Accordingly, CSCW was from the outset a rather heterogeneous research area, spanning not only computer science and social science but also a manifold of distinctly different research paradigms. In important ways, CSCW is still characterized by such heterogeneity, not least because the challenges emerging from new collaborative technologies give rise to new potentials and issues, but also because collaborative technologies become applied in new work domains and use contexts. At the same time, however, in the midst of this persistent heterogeneity, a research program has been articulated and developed that attempts to build, from the bottom up, a conceptual framework for our understand of the design and use of collaboration technologies in actual work practices. Based on an initial overview of the emergence and history of the CSCW research areas, the master class will focus on outlining the practice-centered research program in CSCW: 1. The unit of analysis of CSCW research: coordinative practices and artifacts. 2. The key challenge CSCW research: The problematic nature of collaborative technology: the problematic nature of constructing and embeddng models of social relations in computational artifacts. 3. The analytic axis of CSCW research: The notion of ‘plans and situated action’ or ‘theory and practice’.


Schmidt, Kjeld (2024): The practice-centered research program in CSCW. Proceedings of 22nd European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.48340/ecscw2024_mc01. European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET). EISSN: 2510-2591. Masterclasses. Rimini, Italy. 17 June - 21 June, 2024