I would say the origins of my work are in ergonomics or human factors – evaluating, observing and designing with a sensitivity to human characteristics and capabilities. While early ergonomics was rooted in consideration of biometrics and physiology, it soon moved to consider motivation (The Hawthorne Effect) and other less “tangible” things.
When working in the field, I draw on methods from anthropology, from psychology and from sociology to think about this idea of humans and their relations to each other and to the artifacts they use, consume, adopt, embed into their lived lives. I am inspired by anthropologists but have never had the luxury of spending mcuh time immersed in any situation. I love the work in cultural studies of the adoption and assimilation of technologies – and work in how tetchnologies when adopted do not necessarily function in the ways their designers intended.
When working in design, I use methods from Human Computer Interaction (testing and evaluation that draws much from experimental psychology: cognitive walkthroughs, logged data analysis that again draws much from psychology, survey analysis tthat draws much from sociology and from social psychology), information design (lookiing at layouts mostly), experience design (trying everything from egenrating personas and scenarios to role playing and ideas drawn from performance).
I have always been a methodological and perhaps a philosophical dilletante, perhaps it is time to work out what I really think. Perhaps that will give me the research focus I have always desired. Or perhaps it will trap me into one way of thinking.