Fieldwork for Design

Theory and Practice

  • Dave Randall
  • Richard Harper
  • Mark Rouncefield

Part of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work book series (CSCW)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Ethnography, Fieldwork, and Design: Preliminary Remarks

  3. Theoretical and Analytic Issues

  4. Methods for Social Investigation: Practical Issues

  5. Analytic Issues: What Have We Got?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 200-200
    2. Pages 201-207
    3. Pages 209-253
    4. Pages 255-287
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 301-330

About this book


Fieldwork for Design looks at why ethnographic approaches have been turned to in the design of computing devices for the workplace, for the home and elsewhere. It presents a history of ethnography, both as it was practiced before computer science picked it up and since, most especially in the CSCW and HCI domains. It examines, further, the various ethnographic or ‘fieldwork’ frameworks currently popular, explaining and examining what each claims and entails. The focus of the book throughout is on the practical relationship between theory and practice, a relationship that is often misunderstood yet fundamental to successful design.

The book is illustrated with real examples from the authors’ various experiences in academic and commercial settings, reporting on the use of ethnography before, during and after design innovation and implementation. The result is a book that provides the working knowledge necessary for using any kind of ethnographic approach in the design of computer technologies.

Written to provide an overview of the topic for researchers and graduates, as well as practitioners, this book will prove an invaluable resource for all in the field.

As an HCI researcher and practitioner, I am delighted to see, at last, a balanced view about the practice of ethnography within our field.

Gary Marsden, Associate Professor of HCI, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Dave Randall is Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Richard Harper is a Senior Researcher for Microsoft

Mark Rouncefield is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University


Design boundary element method cognition computer computer science computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) ethnography field framework human-computer interaction (HCI) knowledge network network theory reporting story

Authors and affiliations

  • Dave Randall
    • 1
  • Richard Harper
    • Mark Rouncefield
      • 2
    1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityUK
    2. 2.Lancaster UniversityUK

    Bibliographic information

    • DOI
    • Copyright Information Springer London 2007
    • Publisher Name Springer, London
    • eBook Packages Computer Science
    • Print ISBN 978-1-84628-767-1
    • Online ISBN 978-1-84628-768-8
    • Series Print ISSN 1431-1496
    • Buy this book on publisher's site