Technology and Innovation

You can choose almost any setting in which to undertake your study, but you must be able to gather relevant information in the setting which you can analyse. So, it could be a place where you or a friend works, a place where you can visit regularly or one where you are confident you can get relevant data to support the case you need to make. Example places you could consider are offices and other workplaces, leisure venues, museums, transport systems, or you may want to investigate where new technologies or information systems could support the general public. 

You need to carry out a small research study related to the setting using the methods discussed in the course. These are likely to be qualitative – drawing upon observations (possibly using fieldwork and/or video recording), interviews or questionnaires – but you may supplement these with quantitative data, using, for example available survey data or other documentary materials (e.g. press reports or reports from previous studies). 

Part A – The report (2,500 words) (Please pay attention to the attached guideline). 

The setting for the report is detailed in the ‘coursework notes’ document. 

Please include referenced pictures in part A and tables were appropriate. 

Secondary research only. 

Part B – An essay concerning a topic discussed in the lectures (1,000 words)

Choose to answer one from the following questions. It is important that you clearly indicate which question you have answered. 
1. What is the difference between an ‘interface’ and an ‘interaction’ with a computer? Discuss the ways in which social science can inform the design of systems to support collaboration? 
2. There has recently been great interest in the ‘Internet of Things’. Discuss some of the challenges that are to be overcome if firms wish to adopt this innovation to support their staff. How might social scientists contribute to the development of the ‘Internet of Things’? 
3. There are many methods used to assess new technologies. Describe one method used to assess a new technology and then provide a theoretical criticism of it. 
4. Drawing on brief examples from the literature discuss whether technology shapes society or technology is shaped by society? 

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