Evolutionary Software Development to Support Ethnographic Action Research

Timo Hartmann

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


    Using the ethnographic action research method researchers can develop information systems by simultaneously accounting for technological and organizational factors. The method relies on the close collaboration of practitioners and researchers that develop a new information system in iterative steps of observing current work practices in practical work contexts, developing a new or adjusted information system, and evaluating the usefulness of the system by its introduction in the same practical work context. One shortcoming of the method, caused by its highly iterative character, is that it is not possible for researchers to design the information system in much detail upfront to guide the software development efforts within each iteration. This makes it hard for researchers to develop systems that they can introduce readily in practice for the purpose of evaluating the developed system during each research iteration. By drawing on evolutionary software development methods this paper introduces a test driven software development framework to support ethnographic action researchers to overcome this problem. The paper also illustrates the application of the framework by describing the exemplary implementation of the framework in software. Overall, with the evolutionary software development framework the paper contributes to action research methodology to develop information systems. It provides another stepping stone in enabling researchers to develop methods and systems to support the complex project based engineering processes of the construction industry in a bottom-up iterative manner.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication2011 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering
    EditorsYimin Zhu, R. Raymond Issa
    Place of PublicationReston, VA
    PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
    ISBN (Print)978-0-7844-1182-7
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2011
    EventASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering, IWCCE 2011 - Miami, United States
    Duration: 19 Jun 201122 Jun 2011


    ConferenceASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering, IWCCE 2011
    Abbreviated titleIWCCE
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


    • METIS-277229


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