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Abstract

This paper presents a methodology for socio-cognitive research based on the theory of social representations. Elements of the methodology include:1) data elicitation through free word association; 2) content analysis/coding to identify key concepts in the social representation; 3) analysis of the structure of the representation using analysis of similarity and core/periphery analysis; 4) correspondence analysis to place the concepts on a perceptual space; and 5) interpretation of the social representation. The methodology is demonstrated in use through a study examining early sense-making about electronic health records (EHRs). Analysis of qualitative survey data from 190 students identified 22 concepts forming the social representation. Merits of the methodology are discussed, including its potential value for investigations based on technology frames of reference (TFR), the social construction of technology (SCOT) and organizing visions for IT innovations.

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