CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997

Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Paper Report

Title:Findings from observational studies of collaborative work
Authors: John C. Tang
Citation:International Journal, Man-Machine Studies (1991) 34, pp.143-160
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1993, pp. 251-259

A good groupware system, must bring about the same level of interaction between users, as a normal communication process. In designing good groupware systems, it is important to first understand how humans interact with each other, during the course of their work, how they use tools and materials together, etc. In this paper, the author has closely observed the interactions of groups and presents his observations here.

The research conducted in the context of this paper, mainly focuses on studying the collaborative drawing space activity of small teams. The written notes, free hand sketches and various meaningful gestures that occur, when people work around white-boards or large sheets of paper are topics of interest here.

For the purposes of this research, small groups were given a design and this work was video-taped for later analysis. The tasks were chosen, so as to require a fair amount of interactive and collaborative drawing activity.

The videotape was analyzed and the actions performed by the participants were grouped into three categories: list, draw and gestures. The results were noted in a matrix format of action vs. function.

It was found that:

Report prepared by: Ajay Kumar Gummadi Email: ajay@ee.tamu.edu
Discussion date: February 10, 1997            Report date: February 13, 1997