Theorizing interactivity

Date of publication: June 15, 1997

Author: Peter Harris


There have been a large number of conflicting working models and assumptions proposed for interactive media, suggesting that there are problems in the way we conceptualize interactivity in general. Work in interactive media, including research, design and strategic planning, faces disruption from a lack of appropriate theoretical development. Such theory building can be facilitated by taking a close look at lessons learned from real life observations of media users. This study will summarize recent consumer research in interactive media, including the practical and theoretical lessons from which we can learn in developing research methods and tools relevant to new media, such as the Worldwide Web (WWW.) Based on accumulated studies in online consumer research over an eighteen month period, the author wUl examine various methodological solutions to the challenge of the online environment. The paper will also suggest how the research community as a whole may cooperate in setting an agenda for an ethics of online research practice.

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