ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Naturalistic Observation for Understanding Users: How Technology Professionals Use & Communicate Information at Work

Suzie Allard School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee Email: Kenneth Levine School of Communication Studies, University of Tennessee Email: Carol Tenopir School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee Email: Shalini Urs Department of Library & Information Science, University of Mysore (India) Email:

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


This study examines how design engineers and technical professionals (DETP) in innovative high-tech firms in the U.S. and India communicate and use information in their daily work activities including research, development, and management. It also extends our understanding of the engineering workplace, and the information environment in the workplace. This study will provide information useful for improving communication and information methods for accessing information and communicating in the workplace, which will ultimately lead to better job performance, facilitate innovation, and encourage economic growth.

The researchers conducted a series of daylong workplace observations with 108 DETPs engaged in product design and testing in four U.S. and two India based firms. Using naturalistic observation provided researchers with the ability to see DETP in their workplace carrying out their daily work rather than to depend on self-reported data. It is the first time this method has been employed with DETP. This poster focuses on the naturalistic observation method, how it was employed, and lessons learned both in the U.S. and India.

START Conference Manager (V2.52.6)