Evaluating a Clinical Decision Support System: A basic field study approach
The main strength of field studies is that it is carried out in the “real world” environment under “real world” demands.
This can result in very different interactions and system responses as compared to "laboratory" or "predictive" studies. A better idea of how the system fits in to the overall workflow would then be more likely to emerge, along with any related usability issues.
My participatory approach has also given me first hand interactions with the system, and allowed me to observe how it affects the other users without disrupting their on-going daily work activities. It has allowed me to identify different issues which may only affect specific user groups and reveal opportunities for the application of new technologies to address these issues.
The main drawback of this approach is that it requires a lot of expertise not only in ethnography, but also in the field that is being studied.
This is because it is an interpretive method ; hence the evaluator has to make sense and derived order from his observations. Also, data collection and interpretation often have to occur simultaneously in these studies.
Access and acceptance into the right study population is essential and may not be straight-forward. It is also easy to lose focus of the original aims of the study. Often, multiple forms of data may need to be collected and this can be difficult to compile and interpret. Finally, it is difficult to translate the findings of qualitative field studies into design.
Page Updated: 2 January, 2013Tweet