Facilitating Research with Group Support Systems

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Group Support Systems (GSS) and their effects on group processes and outcomes have been an object of intense study for 10 years. This article takes a different perspective on the involvement of GSS in research. The authors address how GSS tools can facilitate the process of developing and implementing research. A generic model of the research process is used to describe specific suggestions and examples-including three scenarios-for improving researcher efficiency and effectiveness. GSS can provide a variety of benefits to researchers, including basic meeting support for multiple researchers in developing elements of a research project; electronic recording of data from subjects; data analysis; and integration of information and data across the entire research process. Benefits of using GSS to facilitate/support the research process, the limitations of this approach, and the use of GSS to extend the research process beyond its current boundaries are reviewed.