Description

Supplement: Qualitative and Quantitative Assessments of Outcomes from and Impacts of CNS-ASU The YR 7 site visit report for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNSASU) described a desire on the part of site visitors to have a more nuanced understanding ofthe nature and quality of impacts and outcomes that the Center is generating. For example, while the Center reports fully on the extent of its network through catalogues of individuals participating in its activities, the site visitors encouraged the Center to give deeper meaning to these data by communicating more about the level and depth of contact and the nature of the network ties. Moreover, the site visitors encouraged the Center to systematically explore ways of assessing its contribution to the creation of the capacities for anticipatory governance in broader contexts, especially using methods that the Center has already pioneered in its research. To these ends, CNS-ASU submits this supplement request for a post-doctoral researcher to perform qualitative assessments and support quantitative assessments of the impacts of and outcomes from the scope of CNS-ASU research. The researcher will work primarily under the supervision of Elizabeth Corley (co-PI and co-leader, RnA 2 and RnA 4) and Erik Fisher (co-leader, RnA 4). Corley has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research evaluation and Fisher has, through his leadership of the STIR project and the Center's annual interview process, been at the forefront of discerning outcomes and impacts through qualitative methods. CNS-ASU PI and director Guston will provide hands-on oversight for the project. The post-doctoral researcher will engage in four tasks: 1) a brief, comprehensive survey of the target population of CNS-ASU participants, approximately 700 persons in the categories described below; 2) indepth interviews with a smaller number of respondents to the survey, selected to represent each category and the variety of outcomes and impacts that may be documented; 3) construction of a database of results from the first to tasks available for research by other CNS-ASU affiliates; and 4) writing causal narratives of the Center's outcomes and impacts. Data-gathering will stress the generation of causal narratives to understand how the nature of experiences and interactions with CNSASU, its ideas, and its people have influenced the knowledge, identity and/or practices (KIP) of members of the study populations. (Fisher has productively used the KIP framework for annual interviews and will expand it to these populations.) Interviews will be coded for such variables as the respondent's gender, discipline, sector, professional position, national identity, and nature of interaction with the Center, as well as for respondent's use of key words and concepts such as"anticipatory governance" (and its variants),"reflexivity," "real-time technology assessment," etc. The post-doctoral researcher will construct impact narratives from these responses for various aspects of the Center, e.g., each of its main research thrusts, specific projects such as workshops.

Description

The principal intellectual merit of the Center derives from the large-scale, interdisciplinary ensemble that underpins, both intellectually and operationally, a significant degree of work within a nascent but crucial scholarly field. The challenges posed by emerging nanotechnologies are too complex for individual scholars or small groups to manage. The ability to embrace and facilitate interactions among disparate approaches to understanding nanotechnologies, and build complementary and reinforcing capacities to tap that knowledge for governance, is the critical intellectual contribution to which CNS-ASU aspires. The Center has assembled an extensive array of established and up-and-coming scholars across numerous disciplines and institutions who collaborate creatively though the Centers interconnected research structure, its All Hands meeting, and its vision of anticipatory governance. The Centers team of PIs for the renewal comprises wide trans-disciplinary orientation and a mix of continuity and change. Guston, a political scientist and one of the most highly cited scholars of his generation in science and technology studies, continues as PI and director. At ASU, both co-PI Miller, who also blends political science and Science and Technology Studies (STS), and co-PI Corley, who is steeped in policy analysis and evaluation, started their careers as engineers. Deeply committed to trans-disciplinary training for engineers, co-PI Meldrum, dean of Engineering and new to the Center, completes the ASU team. The top leadership also includes Scheufele from University of Wisconsin-Madison, a leader in science communication scholarship, and Youtie from GA Tech, who leads the innovation systems analysis group and has extensive private sector experience. Program leadership within the Center is more diverse still, representing a mix of seniority, nationalities, and central and distant connection to the Center. These leaders then marshal the participation of a vast array of additional scholars and students; the YR 4 annual report includes the activities of more than 100 individuals providing substantive contributions to, and drawing resources from, the Center. The Center is having substantial influence on the scholarly literature. Since funding began in Oct 05, CNS-ASU scholars have published or submitted 55 peer-reviewed journal articles (44 of which are primary Center publications). The Center has 7 books published or in preparation, 18 non-peer-reviewed articles, and 25 book chapters (many of which are refereed). As a crude measure of intellectual impact, the Centers publications have garnered more than 188 citations (Google Scholar, Apr 09), with an H-index of 9 (indicating nine publications with nine or more citations each). The Centers research activities are not just individual projects but also programs of coordinated and synergistic work. For example, in RTTA 2, quasi-experimental work on media influence also helps explain differences between the publics and researchers perceptions of nanotechnologies revealed in surveys. Synergies also reach across programs. For instance, RTTA 3 NCTF creates a pre- and post-test instrument that is coordinated with data gathering in the national surveys as well as with the substantive concerns of the TRCs and is informed by data extracted from RTTA 1. Individual projects and programs have their unique creative elements, but some of the most potentially transformative are those that receive inspiration from the strategic vision of anticipatory governance with its three components: foresight (e.g., an RTTA 1 project that examines the potential transition from passive to active nano-structures; the second national survey in RTTA 2 that uses a sophisticated design to discern patterns in sub-groups attitudes toward specific nanotechnologies for human enhancement); deliberation (e.g., the large-scale, intensive effort of the RTTA 3 NCTF); and integration (e.g
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/15/108/31/16

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $6,948,390.00

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nanotechnology
governance
leader
technology studies
transdisciplinary
science studies
leadership
interview
narrative
supplement
director
engineer
interaction
communication sciences
experience
technology assessment
annual report
political scientist
quantitative research
systems analysis