Activity theory as a theoretical framework in the study of the information practices in molecular medicine

Eija Annikki Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Introduction. It is widely agreed that studies in information science should be situated in a broad or holistic context. Some researchers have highlighted the potential of the cultural historical activity theory in this respect. In this study we have used the activity theory framework to test how well activity theory contributed to the understanding of the information practices of two research groups in molecular medicine.
Method. The paper is a qualitative study where activity theory is implemented as a method to study contextual issues in information practices.
Results. In this study the research work in molecular medicine is the central activity. It is studied in the web of neighbouring activity systems, like information services, which is understood as an instrument-producing activity.
Conclusions. The activity theoretical framework appeared to be useful in providing a holistic approach for the study of information practices in research work on the domain of molecular medicine. The hierarchical structure of activities helped to situate information practices as a tool, which mediates between the subject and the object of the molecular medicine research work. It came apparent that information practices belong to the lower level of activities in the system.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInformation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15.09.2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • KOTA2012


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