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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

My central research interest relates to the problem of how we can help 'clients' express their views of the world so that their aspirations and expectations may be supported by technology. This interest has encouraged me to undertake research into information systems definition and requirements analysis as well as more general studies and consultancy in systems inquiry to facilitate clients in their decision-making. The work I undertake is usually in the form of action research.

Current research activities

I am responsible for the development of the Educational Research Group within the School of Engineering and Computing. My personal research interests in this area relate to the problems of

(i) teaching Research Methods to postgraduate students in the field of Computing, and 

(ii) teaching requirements analysis in a way that complements the philosophy of the content of the material taught, addresses the difficulties experienced by practitioners in this area and provides students with practical experience of this difficult process. 

 

My research activities at the moment are:

(i) writing up a practical application (from an Innovation Voucher project) of the use of the Appreciative Inquiry Method for requirements analysis.

(ii) undertaking a practical study to explore the useful development of User Stories from Soft System Methodology models. 

 

I am starting to formulate a project (together with signal processesing colleagues) looking at the capture and analysis of brain signals ('emotion') of people around horses. The purpose of the study is to try and gain a better understanding of the psychological benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy. The understanding of 'emotion' in this project will contribute to various other projects within the school.

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Systems Inquiry; Systems Thinking and Practice training; Requirements Engineering; Action Research; Knowledge Elicitation; Soft Systems Methodology; Business Analysis; Systems Analysis.

Desired research direction

At the moment I am trying to forward some research with colleagues in signal processessing. We are looking at how we might be able to elicit brain signals from someone riding a horse. The brain signals are to be interpreted as 'emotion' and this, we hope, might give us some idea of how Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) helps those suffering from a variety of psychological and behavioural illnesses. At present there is a great deal of pragmatic evidence and social science research to say that EAT can be very beneficial. However, we do not have scientific or technological research to help us understand what is going on. The research will complement and enhance the research into 'emotion' currently being undertaken in the School. It is expected that the proposed reasearch will provide opportunities for extending the ideas into the areas of sport coaching and mental health /wellbeing.

Target collaborative organisations

At present I am seeking collaborations with a number of organisations who offer Equine Assisted Therapy in Scotland.

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