Triangulation of Qualitative Methods for the Exploration of Activity Systems in Ergonomics
Research concerning ergonomic issues in interdisciplinary projects often raises several very specific questions depending on project objectives. To answer these questions the application of research methods should be thoroughly considered, regarding both the expenditure and the options within the scope of the given resources. The project AQUIMO develops an adaptable modelling tool for mechatronical engineering and creates a related qualification program. The task of social scientific research within this project is to identify requirements viewed from the perspective of the subsequent users. This formative evaluation is based on the approach of "developmental work research" as set forth by ENGESTRÖM and, thus, is a form of "action research". This paper discusses the triangulation of several qualitative methods addressing the examination of difficulties in interdisciplinary collaboration in mechatronical engineering. After a description of both background and analytic approach within the project AQUIMO, the methods are briefly described concerning their advantages and critical points. Their application within the research project AQUIMO is explained from an activity theoretical perspective.
methodological triangulation; group discussion; concept mapping; action research; activity theory