Studies and a model of appropriation of information and communication technologies in university students’ everyday life.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
Full text available as:
This thesis investigated the appropriation of information and communication technologies in everyday life among university students and mature people. To that end, pertinent literature was reviewed resulting in the identification of three issues in need of a more careful appraisal by the HCI field. These issues were used as the research questions propelling this work; they include the identification of elements favouring the process of appropriation; the effect of a changing context on this process; and the co-existence of seemingly overlapping ICTs in people’s lives.
A qualitative methodology was utilised in the studies reported in this thesis. Ethnographic work was conducted over a period of three months with fifteen masters students at the University of Glasgow in the UK. Further ethnographic work over a shorter time frame was conducted abroad among university students at Hokkaido University in Japan, Ajou University in South Korea and Nankai University in China. Additional ethnographic work was conducted among mature people in a religious community in Mexico. Qualitative data gathered was analysed using Grounded Theory and Structuration Theory.
Two are the main contributions of this work. First, a number of insights providing some answers to the research questions posited in this thesis. These answers were advanced as a complement and expansion to issues previously identified in the literature as relevant in the process of appropriation. Because of the ecological perspective underlying this thesis, these answers were presented as technology-neutral and yet useful to understand how the appropriation of technology is induced and sustained, what the impact of a changing environment in the process of appropriation is, and how similar technologies with overlapping features can thrive in the same environment.
The second contribution of this work was a three-layered model of appropriation of ICTs built from the identification of common patterns across the studies conducted. This model sought to detail the role of several intersecting large-scale social processes or structures (i.e., governments, various-sized private and state-owned organisations, the media, families and peers, as well as marketing practices, technical infrastructures and architectural spaces) that provide the resources and restrictions upon which the process of appropiation of digital technology rests. This framework was advanced as a simple tool to aid HCI researchers in the collection, analysis and reporting of qualitative data around the process of appropriation as shaped by the pervasive social structures of contemporary society.
The limitations of the ethnographic work here reported, as well as those of the ensuing conclusions, are identified and used to suggest some avenues of future exploration around the appropriation of ICTs in daily life.
Actions (login required)