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Title: The use and impact of domestic information technology in home carers' lives
Author: Atoofi, Maryam Kazemzadeh
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
The domestication of IT has been a major socio-technical trend during the last decade and yet there is more to be known about the ways it has been adopted and used by working age women (16-59) carers and the impacts it has in practical terms on their lives. The main aim of this research was to investigate women carers' perceptions of use and impact of IT in their daily lives, and so to understand the extent of their empowerment and advancement and their contribution to an inclusive Information Society. Existing literature, including quantitative studies, has thrown light on the impact of domestic technologies and telephony on women's lives. The research, however, evolved from single view of merely concentrating on women as sole carers to appreciating men carers and hence the 'role of caring' came to fore as the main theme in relation to the use of IT alongside other domestic technologies. This study builds on previous work, using qualitative methods to inquire deeply into life experiences of a small number of carers in their access to and use of IT, within the broader context of their home life and duties. Fieldwork research was conducted through interviews with nine participants - six women and three men in caring positions - in their homes or university. The interviewing process was semi-structured, but was also cumulative. Each interview was followed by transcription and initial data processing (before the next interview was conducted). The collected data were encoded using the grounded theory approach, with the aid of Nvivo - a data management software tool for qualitative data analysis. The analysis produced conceptualisations of participants' use of both domestic and information technology in their daily lives. Cognitive mapping was used to bring out some of the important threads in the thinking of participants as shown in the transcriptions. An emergent theory grounded in the data was the main outcome of this research. The study contributes to the understanding of the reasons behind different ways that carers use IT and the impact it has on their lives. It also extends sociotechnical analysis into the domestic context, viewing that context itself against the background of the information society. Key findings include:- 1) Participants' use of IT differs according to occupation, income and family structure. 2) Personal qualities and self-perception have an influence in shaping carers' use of IT, while self-perceptions are likely to change as they become more proficient in the use of IT. 3) Use of IT can open up new economic and social opportunities for the participants, but may not necessarily do so, depending on their personal qualities and their perceptions of themselves and hence the ways they use the technology. 4) There was no consistent view among the participants about what could count as technology or about different types of technologies, nor any clear distinction made between domestic technology and information technology when applied in domestic situation. 5) The adoption of IT in the domestic context is a sociotechnical process, but one which does not exactly conform to the sociotechnical model of organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.589396  DOI: Not available
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