A Double Helix Metaphor for Use and Usefulness in Informing Systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Following the theme of this monograph, this paper discusses a dialectic
we perceive to subsist between meaningful use and reflection upon use.
This dialectic between experiencing use and reflecting upon experiencing
use (or thinking, and thinking about thinking) may be considered in
the following way. Each of these elements is subject to change. As reflection
triggers change in use, and such change triggers further reflection,
a spiral comes about. Lived human experience, and reflection
upon that experience, seems to shape a double helix. In this paper, the
authors suggest a need for a hermeneutically-informed, phenomenological
approach when considering the complexities of informing systems,
viewed as human activity systems. It is suggested that human actors,
as users of informing systems, must own and control any inquiry
into use in relation to design for themselves, and that individual sensemaking processes are the key to successful interaction within the double
helix metaphor.


  • Peter Bednar
  • Christine Welch
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Systems, Social aspects


  • HermeneuticsDouble Helix., Use, Usefulness, Phenomenology, Informing Systems
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUse and Redesign in IS: Double Helix Relationships?
EditorsHans-Erik Nissen, Peter Bednar, Christine Welch
PublisherInforming Science Press
ISBN (Print)978-1932886054
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

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