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This paper aims to show that the problem of the status of help systems has to be approached from within the activities of inquiry themselves, first and foremost from their observable and accountable character, according to the postulates of Deweyan pragmatism and ethnomethodological studies. Relying on the film of the situations and on the transcription conventions of dialogues derived from Conversation Analysis, this paper questions the ways people “follow” the instructions of the “help systems” in two different situations. The first one considers the script used in a computer call center to solve computer problems ; the other one examines how two people trying to install an Internet connexion at home follow the instructions from an instruction manual. The serial analysis of the structure of these two activities accounts for the sort of “know how” and expertise manifest in these two situations, and for its lack. We try to account for the notion of instructional activity as a situated configuration, reflexively tied with practices of communication and socio-ecological frames.
Pour citer cet article :Olszewska Barbara (2006/2). Help Systems: Between Expertise and Common Sense. In Gapenne Olivier & Boullier Dominique (Eds), Help Systems: A challenge for cognitive technology, Intellectica, 44, (pp.159-196), DOI: n/a.