The University of Sussex

The 'professional stranger'

Lydia Plowman, Richard Harper, Yvonne Rogers, eds.

This collection of papers is taken from a workshop held at the fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW'95) in Stockholm, Sweden. The purpose of that workshop was to use personal experiences in the field to explore two interconnected areas of interest: the role of the fieldworker in workplace studies and how this is manifested in written accounts of the research. Many researchers who undertake workplace studies with the intention of informing system design for CSCW adopt ethnographic methods. There have been a number of valuable reflections on methodological issues pertaining to the conflicts between the demands of fieldworkers and the demands of system designers in such contexts, but little attention has been paid to the impact of the ethnographic fieldworkers themselves in the industrial or commercial environments they study. We aimed to use a variety of cultural perspectives to establish commonalities and differences of approach to fieldwork. The papers in this volume have been revised in the light of those discussions and there are seven contributions in addition to the editors' introduction.

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