Activity theory as a tool for data analysis - School of Computing Seminar Series

This seminar reports on recent research designed to understand how community-level elected representatives (Scotland’s community councillors)
1. learn about their roles
2. gather, process and share information of interest to the citizens they represent and higher authorities such as local authorities (e.g. Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian).

In this presentation, and the corresponding conference paper, Activity Theory is presented as a framework for explaining Information Literacy as a technologically mediated social practice.
This work demonstrates the value of Activity Theory as
· a tool for Information Literacy research that seeks to present information practices in their social contexts
· as a means of highlighting underlying issues within the social environment under review through the identification of contradictions within the activity system.
These aspects of the research are particularly important because Information Literacy is generally conceived as an aspect of individuals, particularly students in higher education. However, work roles involving information gathering, processing and sharing are often collective/social, and mediated by workplace hierarchies and norms.