Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development

By Simon Bell | Go to book overview

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
This research explores the issues of eclectic methodology development and introducing information systems in developing countries. It will be argued that available methodologies for information-systems analysis and design need to be used with due regard to context and to the predispositions of the analyst/researcher. Developing countries are currently receiving large numbers of computer systems as part of aid from major aid agencies. The systems are often completely unplanned and yet they are provided in high-risk environments and are expected to produce high-value returns. Existing methodologies which could be (and in some cases are) used in systems planning are expensive in personnel costs, and many focus on technical issues whilst often ignoring the critical social and political contexts which ultimately determine systems sustainability. The core question to be investigated in this research is: 'Is a flexible, eclectic systems analysis and design tool such as Multiview an appropriate planning and development methodology for introducing information systems into developing countries?' The fieldwork in this research makes use of Multiview and, following an appraisal of its value, provides a series of adaptations in terms of techniques and tools. It is argued that these adaptations provide the methodology with greater flexibility within the context of the developing country environment and the human resources potential. The adaptations, it is further argued, provide the methodology with features which are akin to those of Rapid Rural Appraisal, a method already tried and tested in developing countries in the rural development planning context. The structure of the research is:
• a discussion of the general background and context for developing countries with regard to the rapid planning and development of information technology and information systems
• the introduction of a research question with regard to the need for methodology adaptation
• three action-research field studies where adaptations took place

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Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures viii
  • Tables x
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Summary of Contents xv
  • Part I - Introducing the Context 1
  • 1 - Introduction and Background 3
  • 2 - Information Systems and Planning in Developing Countries 30
  • Part II - The Question and the Approach 57
  • 3 - The Question for This Book 59
  • 4 - Selecting the Research Approach 62
  • Part III - Action-Research Learning 83
  • 5 - Learning Cycle 1: a Department of Roads 85
  • 6 - Learning Cycle 2: an Administrative Staff College 123
  • 7 - Learning Cycle 3: a Board for Technical Education 148
  • Part IV - Overview and Conclusions 175
  • 8 - An Overview of the Learning Process 177
  • 9 - The Next Steps 195
  • Notes 208
  • Bibliography 210
  • Index 224
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