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Title: Digital waters : an assessment of information and communication practices in oceanography and multidisciplinary science
Author: Dahlan, Kinda R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 3422
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis addresses the question: What implications do ICTs, and their related techno-social contexts, have on expanding the scope of collaborative research and information sharing in oceanography? It does so by looking at data curation within the oceanographic community using a mixed methods approach that triangulates the results of three case studies. Oceanography, in its basic form, is the science of the oceans that combines several scientific disciplines to understand earth's hydrosphere and its interaction with the atmosphere. It is an interdisciplinary science that requires multidisciplinary collaboration to address global challenges that can benefit from the utilization of ICTs. This research examines parameters of information and communication practices within this community where there has been little attention to date as to the intersection of current ICTs and oceanography. In the scope of seven chapters, the research objectives are intended to 1) inform on information practices in multidisciplinary research contexts; 2) contribute to the understanding of the relationship between socio-technical and socio-ecological contexts; 3) provide an assessment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) usefulness in mediating between various stakeholders. Section 1 establishes the theoretical and methodological framework covering the historical connection between technology, oceanography, and ICTs. The methodology details a mixed methods design for data collection and analysis, expounding on approaches adopted to combine Social Network Analysis (SNA) and ethnographic semi-structured interviews and observations. In three consecutive chapters, section 2 describes each of three case studies, detailing study methods and findings. Section 3 draws on the studies in a discussion that interweaves conceptualization and practical application with current events, future direction, limitations, delimitations, and further research. Key findings revealed that Charmazian (2006) Grounded Theory is a successful approach for conducting a pilot study on information practices at a project meeting-based level, and that combining Engeström's (2001) AT with Latour's (1996) Actor-Network Theory, through the use of case studies and SNA, yields successful outcomes for the study of Communities of Practice (Wenger, 2008) within organizational settings. The SNA findings also uncovered fragmentation in the online oceanographic community, via Twitter data analysis. Overall, the research demonstrates the value of treating oceanographic data as "complex" rather than "big" data as the community expands from a data production to a data management community, and that ICTs do have a mitigating role in developing the scope of collaborative research surrounding these complex data in ways that could facilitate data ingestion and sharing within and beyond the community. Finally the research reveals stark difference between data scientists' objectives and those of data users and provides recommendations for organizations, individual researchers, and funders to address these gaps and enhance data management and ICT utilization. The research thus contributes to the field of information science and oceanography and will be of interest to practitioners and stakeholders interested in the interdisciplinary intersection of computational technology and other specific research domains.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available