The role of group support technology in developing the HEALNet research agenda
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HEALNet, a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence Program, has undergone a building exercise to focus and consolidate its research program for the 1998 to 2002 funding period. A number of challenges were identified while trying to develop this research agenda within a short time frame. These included how to bring together a diverse group of researchers, ensuring that everyone's voice was heard, and ensuring that the collective interests were placed ahead of individual interests. Furthermore, as three separate workshops were being held, a method for quickly capturing the workshop output and preparing reports was required. A Group Support System (GSS) was used to facilitate this work and to help meet these challenges. This report describes how the GSS was used. While the GSS supported brainstorming activities, it was less useful in assisting the group in developing the details of research programs. It did facilitate the timely production of reports from the workshops. Such systems have a role to play in supporting group work at the idea generation stage, but further work is required in order for them to be useful in the development of detailed research programs.
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