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My Research Journey: Dr Paul Jackson

Friday, 04 November 2011


When I started at ECU in 2002 I had already spent twenty years in the IT industry as a manager and consultant. Being in a practical and fast-changing area such as Information Systems, I had expected research to be applied and practical, but found a strong emphasis in the top research journals on theory and rigour.

This dismayed me a little: I found the more rigorous the research, the more obvious or less useful it seemed to be (I haven’t done a survey to confirm this). I knew from my experience that the IT industry really needed applied research to improve implementation and usage outcomes.

Anyway, since I started at ECU I have been lucky enough to have been given opportunities to broaden my understanding of both research methods and the various theories behind Information Systems behaviour, whether specific to technology or more sociological or psychological in nature. My preference is still to be applied in my research, but I can now draw upon a wider range of theories to frame the object of study.

This is particularly useful as I focus on the applications of so-called ‘Web 2.0’ software (wikis, blogs, social networking and so on) for business and communities, which moves the emphasis to social theory rather than technology (including what is ethical or of social importance). But for me, the main outcome should still be a contribution to good practice and policy.

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