Accepted Papers:

From hospital to code and back again. Data transformations in interdisciplinary cooperation  


Cornelius Schubert (Universit├Ąt Siegen)
Judith Willkomm (Universit├Ąt Siegen)

Paper Short Abstract:

We offer insights into ongoing interdisciplinary research between neurosurgery, computer graphics, and sociology. We show how ethnographic data from a hospital ward is transformed in the research assemblage and how it is brought back to the hospital as systems design and sociological reflection.

Paper long abstract:

We present a media ethnography of an ongoing interdisciplinary project between neurosurgery, computer graphics, and sociology. The project addresses clinical cooperation on a hospital ward and seeks to develop novel modes of visual information integration through an augmented reality application. In the course of the project, we conducted ethnographic fieldwork in order to gain a deeper understanding of the cooperative tasks and problems, the use of media and visualizations, and the relevant patterns of clinical knowledge. This data is used to inform systems design which, in the long run, is supposed to be integrated into the hospital's data infrastructure.

This study follows how the researchers first mutually constructed their research question, which had to address the interests of the neurosurgeons, computer scientists, and sociologists and, in a second step, how they managed to make and keep ethnographic design-data relevant to all three parties. First, the data must generate original insights into hospital cooperation and produce a scientific surplus for STS. Second, it must be transformable into algorithmic code used by computer graphics. Third, it should offer novel insights into the daily cooperative practices for neurosurgery beyond systems design.

From a media ethnographic meta-perspective we will show how the data is represented, configured and negotiated in this collaborative process and how it serves not only for descriptive, analytic and critical purposes, but how it is transformed and used in a constructive manner for systems design and informing neurosurgical practice.

Panel F07
Methodography of data practices in STS's ethnographic collaboration and participant observation