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Metatheoretical Snowmen II

Jenna Hartel, Jonathan Furner, Soo Young Rieh, Michael Olsson, Marcia Bates, Nicholas Belkin and Andrew Dillon

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


Summary

Metatheory is the highest level conceptual device used in research and determines a way of thinking and speaking about reality and its information behavior. Today, numerous metatheories exist in information studies and create a dynamic climate, yet also some confusion. This panel aims to demystify methatheory by addressing the matter in a playful, comparative, competitive spirit. Articulate champions of five major metatheories will be given an opportunity to cast their metatheory onto the life and information experience of an ordinary and affable persona: a snowman. The vivid renderings of the snowman and its information world will bring the features of each metatheory into clear view. For 2011, the featured metatheories are: a philosophic-analytic approach, user-centered design, critical theory, cognitivism, and an evolutionary perspective. To invigorate both discussants and the audience, the presentations will be judged by a jury appointed on the spot. The panelist who offers the most illuminating exposition will take home a trophy while the audience gains new understanding.


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