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Dilettantism in investigating the impact of the internet on the wellbeing of the elderly
journal contributionposted on 2009-03-01, 00:00 authored by L Firth, David MellorDavid Mellor
The surge of interest in the social impacts of the Internet has led information systems experts to apply methods and theories garnered from disciplines such as psychology and sociology. As researcher look across disciplines for methods and explanations of outcomes, they run the risk of researching badly. This may be because they are inexperienced in the theory or method, or because the theory or method is not entirely applicable to the context that challenges them. Thus, in the search for the novelty necessary to achieve publications, and given the lack of experience in applying information systems to issues beyond the corporate sphere, research that does not hold water is being undertaken. This is of particular interest because it is not necessarily being undertaken by the novice. The research reported here was undertaken by experienced researchers using experimental and interview methods with which they had experience in other disciplines (psychology and economics). However, the context of researching the impact of the Internet on the quality of life of first time users over the age of 65 was sufficiently different as to render the methods and possibly the theory inappropriate. This dilettantism must be recognized for what it is.