Enhancing Control and Empowerment for Elders through Assistive Technology: An Interdisciplinary Study

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This presentation will describe the process of interdisciplinary collaboration between social workers and computer scientists in the design and implementation of a National Science Foundation supported study on elders and technology. The social science team from Smith College used qualitative methods to elicit elders' priorities for computer-based assistive technologies; the University of Massachusetts Computer Science team utilized the findings in the continuous reconfiguration of the technology. We will discuss the dynamic issues between the teams as they affected research design and methods, as well as the researchers themselves. We will address the significance of similarities and differences between the teams in definitions of the issue to be studied, research methods, and professional languages.


Keywords: Elders and Technology, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Phebe Sessions

Professor, School for Social Work, Smith College
Northampton, MA, USA

Dr. Phebe Sessions received her doctorate from Brandeis University in Social Policy and has been on the faculty of the Smith College School for Social Work for 30 years. Her research interests have focused on community-based social work theory and practice for socially disenfranchised populations. She has developed courses on "private troubles and public issues: the social construction of assessment" and "metaperspectives for clinical social work" which examine the relevance of critical theory and social constructionism for social work practitioners. She has presented and published in this area and is the co-editor of the "Handbook of Community-based Clinical Practice".

Prof. Allen Hanson

Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA, USA

Dr. Hanson received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell Univeristy. He was on the faculty and Dean of the School of Language and Communication at Hampshire College and since 1989 has been a Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Massachusetts. For the past 20 years, his research efforts have been in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision and image understanding, and pattern recognition. He is director of the Computer Vision Laboratory at UMass.

Ref: I08P0456