Getting the Best of Both Worlds

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Getting the Best of Both Worlds

  1. 1. © Deining 2010-2011 Getting the Best of Both Worlds A Personal Note on Doing Science CSG Research Meeting Berg en Dal, September 29 th 2010 Lucien Hanssen Deining Societal Communication & Governance [email_address]
  2. 2. Topics ● Working in two worlds apart ● Some observations on social scientists ● Some observations on natural scientists ● Getting the best of both worlds © Deining 2010-2011
  3. 3. Personal Background ● MSc biology genetics, microbiology, communication science ● PhD technology governance biotechnology, genomics, nanotechnology ● Professional career biologist, communication & governance scholar © Deining 2010-2011
  4. 4. Working in Two Worlds Apart (  ) Natural sciences study aspects of natural phenomena (  ) Social sciences study human relations and societies (  ) Humanities study intellectual products of humans © Deining 2010-2011
  5. 5. Working in Two Worlds Apart Natural sciences in a nutshell Propose hypotheses as explanations of natural phenomena; design (repeatable) experiments to test these; data and methodology are available for scrutiny (falsification) Theories bind independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure; this in turn may help to form new hypotheses © Deining 2010-2011
  6. 6. © Reid, Geleijnse & Van Tol
  7. 7. <ul><li>Working in Two Worlds Apart </li></ul><ul><li>Social sciences in a nutshell </li></ul><ul><li>Some social scientists use quantitative methods </li></ul><ul><li>resembling those of natural sciences, based on empirical research: </li></ul><ul><li> e.g. empirical analytical approach </li></ul><ul><li>Others by contrast, use qualitative methods rather than constructing empirically falsifiable hypotheses: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> e.g. symbolic interactionism </li></ul></ul></ul>© Deining 2010-2011
  8. 8. © Reid, Geleijnse & Van Tol
  9. 9. Some Observations on Natural Scientists (1) ● There is a lack in understanding main approaches from social science and its qualitative methodology © Deining 2010-2011 ● If useful, they see this research as marketing tool and think of researchers as social engineers ● They experience social science research as wordy & woolly , lacking sense of reality, yet as personal hobby
  10. 10. Some Observations on Natural Scientists (2) Some have learned hard lessons and see it is not about technology alone but people using technology, they have become sensitive to societal issues to the society agenda © Deining 2010-2011
  11. 11. Some Observations on Social Scientists (1) ● There is a lack in understanding basic principles from natural science and its quantitative methodology © Deining 2010-2011 ● Assessments of implications of science and technology can end in societal fiction, without tangible guidance ● There is a tendency to threat normative descriptions of technological practices as self-evident or objective
  12. 12. Some Observations on Social Scientists (2) Some have experienced that input from natural science is essential for a better and timely understanding of the significance of technology of the technology agenda © Deining 2010-2011
  13. 13. Getting the best of both worlds 1. Practical advices from my teachers 2. Focus on the socio-techno-interaction 3. Combine competences © Deining 2010-2011
  14. 14. Getting the best of both worlds into my research Practical advices from my teachers (1) Albert Kroon, biologist: Never use brackets in your texts © Deining 2010-2011 Be short and to the point in your wordings
  15. 15. Getting the best of both worlds into my research Practical advices from my teachers (2) James Stappers, communication scholar: A term requires a clear definition © Deining 2010-2011 Make sure that all mean the same
  16. 16. Getting the best of both worlds into my research Practical advices from my teachers (3) Arie Rip, sociologist: A diagnosis needs theoretical backup © Deining 2010-2011 Keep distance to your object of research
  17. 17. Getting the best of both worlds into my research Focus on the socio-techno-interaction (1) How is technology shaped by societal forces; this opens up the context of application  society into agenda of technology enactors © Deining 2010-2011 In the same process, How does technology shape human relations; this opens up the context of implication  technology into agenda of societal actors
  18. 18. socio-techno-interaction © Deining 2010-2011 society technology s t interaction  integration
  19. 19. Getting the Best of Both Worlds into my Research Combine competences (1) R equires insight in (1) technological pathways as well as (2) governance commitments & (3) societal appraisals More specific, gather impartial information on (1) direction of innovation (2) power & control (3) safety, effectiveness & regulation © Deining 2010-2011
  20. 20. Getting the Best of Both Worlds into my Research Combine competences (2) Tools to study socio-techno-interaction, use a combination from deliberative toward analytical methods ● vision assessment ● forward study ● scenario making ● multi criteria analyses ● facilitated modeling (system dynamics) © Deining 2010-2011
  21. 21. Getting the Best of Both Worlds into my Research Combine competences (3) Tools characteristics: ● looses from institutional contexts ● acknowledges multiple legitimate perspectives ● addresses uncertainty, ambiguity, ignorance ● i nteractions get more symmetrical ● creates common ideas and language © Deining 2010-2011
  22. 22. Example1: technology is shaped by societal forces Societal Interface Group (CBSG) Points to and discusses early signals from society by integrating outsiders and insiders Brings in creative potential of future users in genomics applications , at a time when it can still influence research trajectories © Deining 2010-2011 Enactors search for more shared aims, meanings and starting points for their research agenda
  23. 23. Example 2: technology shapes human relations Art of nanotechnology (CieMDN) Artistic research reveals - and empathizes - how humans relate to the nano scale Takes us from this scale in a perceivable way to think about possible implication s of nanotechnology in our own environment and our relationships © Deining 2010-2011 Conversations about the complicated and messy way in which a society deals with technological change
  24. 24. <ul><li>Getting the best of both worlds </li></ul><ul><li>Practical advices from my teachers </li></ul><ul><li>  attitude as researcher </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the socio-techno-interaction </li></ul><ul><li>  conceptual and theoretical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Combine competences </li></ul><ul><li>  skills and methods for science in practice </li></ul>© Deining 2010-2011

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