The NordWit team will meet in Tampere in April. We have a full calendar planned, and we are going to discuss the research done so far as well as plan forward. I am working on two eHealth interview studies that are connected to NordWit, and I have also started to look into career trajectories and role models as a part of the Centre work. The studies have a gender and sociotechnical perspective, which is interesting and new to me. I have lots of interesting people to collaborate with in my studies, and I am learning so much when discussing with them that it is amazing.
I will be staying in Tampere a few days after the NordWit meeting to attend a PhD course arranged by the NordWit team. The course is called Gender, Work and Transforming Organisations. Both Diane Golay and Gunilla Myreteg are taking the course with me, and we have started to look in to the quite extensive course material. I will attend the course as a student, or listener, and try to learn as much as I can in this new area. I really hope that I have time to read the papers before the course so that I can learn as much as possible from attending!
Some time back I submitted an application for promotion to full professor of Computer Science at Uppsala University. It ended up being almost 60 pages of text, and I had worked with the applications for months. Submitting it was really energy consuming, much because there’s always a risk of failing when being evaluated. I have heard of many cases where people have very unexpectedly being assessed as not qualified. I also know that the process is gendered, and that women threat to be evaluated much harsher than men. Submitting this application was really a brave step for me. It felt like the jump made by the man in the blog post.
Being in academia really means being exposed to constant assessments, and evaluations of your work in different ways. I can get quite tired of this but I guess it is a part of the game. If you want to impact society and get funding for doing your research it is better to be a full professor than an associate professor.
The process is quite slow when you apply for promotion at Uppsala University. If I am lucky I will have the results from the evaluation before summer, but it is not unlikely that it is done in the fall. There are small steps on the way, though, and so far I have celebrated them all!
I’m going to attend the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering. This is one of the ACM yearly conferences, described in this way on the web site:
ICSE, the International Conference on Software Engineering, is the premier software engineering conference, providing a forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, research, experiences, trends and concerns in the field of Software engineering. In 2018 ICSE will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and 50 years of Software engineering – 50 years of tremendously successful promotion of research, education and practices in software engineering.
For me this will be the first time I visit this conference, and I will do a key note at one of the workshops of the conference. The workshop is called International Workshop on Software Engineering in Healthcare Systems. In my key note I will address the complexities of doing software engineering when stakeholders have conflicting needs and requirements, and give examples from the implementation of medical records online in Sweden.
The conference will be in Gothenburg in May 2018. I’ve been in Gothenburg a few times, and 90% of the cases it is raining and is really cold. I hope that the city is a bit nicer in May!
I work with assessment of EU cluster applications in the area of ICT and Innovation. Usually these are very technology oriented, with a focus on technical developments. I read and assess applications with a special interest in gender equality a few times every semester. I must admit that it is quite a horrible experience, as the competence in this area is so low that it is upsetting.
Here are a three pieces of advise related to gender equality for all companies applying for funding in these EU cluster applications:
- ICT is not gender neutral. ICT is indeed not a transparent, value free tool. Instead ICT is appropriated in the context of our society. The norm is that men are interested in ICT, know ICT and when ICT doesn’t work men are expected to work with the solutions. Women are often passive receivers of ICT, are expected to be non-intereted and their needs are often neglected when designing ICT. How till you address this complexity in your project?
- Gender Equality is about the users of ICT. Gender Equality in you application can be about the use of the system. How will you market the system? Who are the users? How do you make sure that your system addresses the needs of all user groups? In what way do needs vary between user groups? (As the majoritet of ICT projects don’t really look at the users’ needs in a structured way, looking at gender differences might seem completely off your horizon but is necessary.)
- How do you create an inclusive project? Gender equality in your project is about creating an inclusive project where everyone is welcome. Guiding stars are transparency in all aspects of the word, equal salaries, equal opportunities, equal support. It is also about meeting cultures, and creating a team where everyone is listened to. You also need to look at your recruitment process for your project. Is the advertisement directed towards men? How do you assess the applications? Everyone in your team will benefit from working with these aspects of gender equality, and most probably the ICT product will also be better, more creative and sell more if you succeed in having an inclusive project.
Of course there are lots of more things to work with related to gender equality, but if you work with the above you are up to a good start. And also if these three aspects are included in your application it will be one of the best I’ve seen so far. And of course that also increases your chances of being funded!
My applicaiton to the “South Africa-Sweden Research and Innovation Week” was accepted and now I am going to Pretoria and visit professor Helene Gelderblom and her team for a week in May. We’ll be working on ideas for applications, and also other possibilities for collaboration.
This will be great fun!
Working with the same thing, being in my comfort zone all the days of the week would really make me bored. I think that the feeling of “empty work” would haunt me after quite a short time. I want the excitement of learning new things, but of course not all days of the week. However, some periods in life really are too full and the calendar gets packed. It feels like I run from one thing to the other all day (but I don’t run – I sit at my computer), and there is no room for reflection or a pause. The picture for this blog post would illustrate those weeks, or months.
This fall I talked to a full professor of work environment who said that there needs to be a balance in life over time. And that this balance might be personal (there is no one-size-fit all), but we need to be aware that variation is key when it comes to stress. I think that this person has a good poting.
Perhaps my ideal life would look like this:
There is no point for me to aim for a life where there would be long periods with too little to do, or to think that this would be good for me. I like when life varies, and when there are some days that are really filled with new and exciting, and stressful, things. I am really looking forward to an exciting spring with some new things, and also many things that are completely in my comfort zone.
The HCI people at the department had a two day writing retreat at my house again. This time it was a real girl-power retreat, and it was only women who came. We spent two full days writing and also doing some social activities.
Writing retreats work very well for me, and I get more things written than a normal day when I am sitting at my desk. The feeling of being focused and only being allowed to write is really great.
During the retreat I wrote on the following texts:
- A paper on sharing of patient accessible health records with relatives. The work on the paper is lead by Leysan Nurgalieva, and the study is based on interview data as well as a survey that was sent to patients.
- An application for funding to do research on psychiatry medical records online and how that affects the work environment in health care.
- An application to the co-funded call Gender-Net Plus
When you have finished your PhD at Uppsala University you are invited to participate in the conferment ceremony in the main university building at Uppsala University. This is a very traditional ceremony, and parts of it is still in Latin. 😳
The link to the film below is taken when the PhD students and the other people in the procession enter the room.
Here we go!
The feeling during the conferment ceremony is that of the Nobel Prize award. It is indeed very formal, serious and honorable. This year I am attending the ceremony to see when Thomas Lind gets his diploma.
Last year I had a great visit at the University of Pretoria, where I met Helene Gelderblom and her UX in South Africa team. I was very impressed by their work, and since then we have been looking for opportunities to continue our collaboration. Many of my research projects are in the same area as theirs, and it would be so interesting to do research together on how to improve the quality of IT system.
Now one opportunity for funding has appeared! Uppsala University and 27 other universities in Sweden has a newly started collaboration with South Africa, and they have a call for applications to join a research and innovation week at the University of Pretoria. You find information about their initiative here. Several of the challenges they are addressing in the South-Africa Sweden University forum are related to my research, and it would be great to discuss them with other researchers and look for collaborations. The week will also include some research and innovation activities, and there will be a delegation from Uppsala University going to Unversity of Pretoria.
We’ll see if the application is granted or not. There might be many researchers who are interested in joining this Please hold your thumbs! And please join me and write an application to this call for joining a research and innovation week.
Methods are truly important when you do research, and depending on your research tradition there are indeed many strong opinions about what is a good and bad method. Generalizability, validity and reliability are for some the only quality criteria possible. And if you do an interview study you need an enormous number of interviews according to some people.
Some would argue that human-computer interaction is indeed a melting pot of different opinions and perspectives on methods. Indeed, I have seen some very harsh comments on some of the methods that I have used from people with a completely other world-view. The problem when I get these comments is that I don’t really know what to write as an answer. Please take a course in qualitative research and relevant quality criteria for that kind of research is perhaps not the most politically correct rebuttal text to write.
One of my favorite stories related to methods is from my supervisor, Jan Gulliksen who was a part of a long review process where one other researcher claimed that the method was un-important:
I don’t care that the method is flawed. I like the results!
Before the Christmas holiday Christiane Grünloh presented a workshop paper that we wrote together that presents a mixed methods approach to analyzing interviews.
“Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a melting pot of different theories and methods. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods in studies is still quite rare, but has become more and more common. In this paper, we present our experiences from doing a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis to shed some light on patient accessible electronic health records. We conducted a national survey to patients to learn about their experiences of accessing their electronic health records. The questionnaire was informed by previous interviews with physicians related to effects on their work environment, and we made use of identified themes from that study as a lens to analyse survey data.”
You find the paper free for download here.