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Abstract

This paper reports from fieldwork exploring a Web-based information system in a multinational pharmaceutical company. The discussion revolves around research methods for exploring the development and use of distributed information systems. A common mode of doing fieldwork within a single site is introduced, and the paper argues that this mode does not sufficiently tackle the particularities of the phenomenon under study. These particularities include geographical distribution and lack of overview, multiple variants of the system-in-use, as well as uncertainties concerning the involvement of the researcher. As an alternative, the paper explores ways of thinking and conducting qualitative research that may incorporate the complex, emergent, and at times paradoxical nature of contemporary information technologies as well as locate the researcher within the terrain explored. The paper thus depicts the researcher’s experiences with an open-ended multi-sited research design and shares the lessons learned.

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