An information system for psychotherapy research using expert commentary of videotaped expertise : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems at Massey University

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Massey University
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This project looked at the domain of psychotherapy research and asked the question - How can Information System's technology and methods be applied and developed to serve this domain's current needs? Review of the psychotherapy research literature identified 'astute observation and careful description' as the most productive next step in research efforts. As one response, EXpert Commentary of Videotaped Expertise (EXCOVE) was developed as a Knowledge Elicitation (KE) approach. EXCOVE aims to maximise the quality of observation and description of psychotherapy processes. EXCOVE is the collection of expert commentary on specific videotaped, expertexecuted events. This strategy aims to retain the advantages of open questioning, minimise the possibility of copious and inaccurate data, and trigger and bring to consciousness the viewing expert's cognitive processes. Psychodrama was chosen as the psychotherapy of focus. Six psychodrama sessions totalling seven hours were videotaped and at least four expert commentaries on each session were collected using the EXCOVE approach. A computer system was then required to manage this data and to assist in the various qualitative-type analyses envisaged for the data. However, Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) were limited in their abilities to meet these requirements. Therefore, a computer system called Flexible Environment for Research And Learning (FERAL) was developed. FERAL's behaviour was modelled on a sheets-of-paper metaphor which is proposed as an improvement to some aspects of existing CAQDAS. The collected data was managed in a FERAL application and various analysis tasks were completed with facilities developed in FERAL. Five psychodrama topics were investigated - phases, doubling, mirroring, unpredictability, and action. Results of the investigations appeared to provide some useful contributions to the understanding of psychodrama. The results also indicated that data collected using EXCOVE and its various mechanisms were useful. FERAL was found to be useful during analysis, particularly the data co-ordination facilities and the sheets-of-paper interface. The project resulted in a working information system for psychodrama that contained a sufficient amount of data to be useful for analysis of various psychodrama topics. The process of developing an information system for this application domain also resulted in the identification of innovations in KE and CAQDAS and their initial verification in a live application.
FERAL (application), System design, Computer software development, Case studies, Drama, Therapeutic use, Psychotherapy, Flexible Environment for Research And Learning