Action Research Methods

Action Research Methods

Patrice Braun
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-575-7.ch001
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To date, most research into the implications of the Internet for SMEs has focused on individual business barriers to ICT and e-commerce adoption. Such research has shown that SMEs tend to be time- and resource-poor, with their size being their main disadvantage vis-à-vis ICT adoption (OECD, 2000; Van Beveren & Thompson, 2002). Perhaps the question is not whether small firms have adopted ICT, but rather where are small firms in terms of their ICT adoption. ICT encompasses a series of separate yet interrelated components; for example, electronic mail (e-mail), the Internet, the Web, and e-commerce, which can be adopted in a variety of social and business settings. Hence, it is suggested that ICT cannot be considered as a single technological innovation but rather as a series of (process) innovations, potentially resulting in variable ICT adoption patterns (Walczuch, Van Braven, & Lundgren, 2000).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Location-Based Service: A service provided to the subscriber based on their current geographic location. This position can be known by the user as an entry or a global positioning system receiver. Most often the term implies the use of a radiolocation function built into the cell network or handset that uses triangulation between the known geographic coordinates of the base stations through which the communication takes place.

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems: Accounting-oriented information systems for identifying and planning the enterprise-wide resources needed to take, make, distribute, and account for customer orders. The basic premise of these systems is to implement a single information warehouse that will service all of the functional areas of a business.

Geographical Information System (GIS): A system for managing spatial data and associated attributes. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a smart map tool that allows users to create interactive queries, analyze the spatial information, and edit data.

Web-Based Public Participatory GIS: An online application of GIS that is used for increasing public access to information and active participation in the decision-making process and is an important improvement over existing public and decision-maker power relationships.

Public Participatory GIS: A GIS technology that is used by members of the public, both as individuals and grass-root groups for participation in the public processes (i.e., data collection, mapping, analysis, and decision-making) affecting their lives.

Local E-Government: Information, services, or transactions that local governments provide online to citizens using the Internet and Web sites.

E-Government: Relations of top/down power—governing populations through use of online information and services.

Decision Support Systems: A class of computerized information systems that support decision making activities.

Interactive Internet Map Server: An online mapping utility which enables users who may not be familiar with GIS to view and interact with online GIS.

Planning Support Systems: Interactive computer-based systems designed to help decision-makers process data and models to identify and solve complex problems in large scale urban environment and make decisions.

Web-Based GIS also known as ‘Internet GIS’: A new technology that is used to display and analyze spatial data on the Internet. It combines the advantages of both Internet and GIS. It offers the public a new means to access spatial information without owning expensive GIS software.

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