Carleton University - School of Computer Science
Technical Report TR-14-04
September 9, 2014
A Study of an Intelligence Analysis Team and their Collaborative Artifacts
Judith M. Brown, Jeff Wilson, Robert Biddle
We conducted a field study of a team of collaborating professional intelligence analysts engaged in a simulated activity in their workplace. We investigated the collaborative nature of the event and how they used artifacts (flipcharts, paper, posters, post-its, projected images, computer displays and representations) to support collaboration. Using activity theory, we analyzed our notes of their collaborative behaviors, our chats with analysts, and photos of artifacts in their context use. We found the collaborative nature of the analysts’ activity had a distinct pattern; in earlier stages it is stronger, and later on weaker, and more between analysts and developer-analysts than between analysts. We identify issues in the analyst’s current use of artifacts, and identify potential areas where collaboration could be strengthened through technologies that are new to practitioners in the domain, such as large interactive surfaces. Based on our findings we suggest new research directions for the field.
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