The theory-practice gap as generative metaphor

Jordan Beck, Hamid R. Ekbia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The theory-practice gap is a well-known concept in HCI research. It provides a way of describing a space that allegedly exists between the theory and practice of the field, and it has inspired many researchers to propose ways to "bridge the gap." In this paper, we propose a novel interpretation of the gap as a generative metaphor that frames problems and guides researchers towards possible solutions. We examine how the metaphor has emerged in HCI discourse, and what its limitations might be. Our examination raises concerns about treating the gap as given or obvious, which could reflect researchers' tendencies to adopt a problem-solving perspective. We discuss the value of considering problem setting in relation to the theory-practice gap, and then explore Derrida's strategy of "reversal" as a possible way to develop new metaphors to capture the relationship between theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEngage with CHI
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356206, 9781450356213
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Apr 21 2018Apr 26 2018

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2018-April

Other

Other2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018
CountryCanada
CityMontreal
Period4/21/184/26/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The theory-practice gap as generative metaphor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Beck, J., & Ekbia, H. R. (2018). The theory-practice gap as generative metaphor. In CHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Engage with CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2018-April). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3174194