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Improving Tool Support for Personal Task Management (PTM)

Kamsin, A; (2014) Improving Tool Support for Personal Task Management (PTM). Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Personal Task Management (PTM) describes the planning, prioritising and list-making of tasks employed by an individual user. There are hundreds of commercial electronic PTM tools available on the market which users can choose from. There appears to be little attempt to develop a framework for describing people’s task management behaviour, making it difficult to determine the extent to which these tools meet users’ needs. The aims of this thesis were therefore to understand how academics manage their tasks, to identify the conceptual gaps between them and the existing electronic tools, and to establish requirements for guiding the design and evaluation of PTM tools. The research adopts a user-centred design methodology. This includes both empirical and analytical approaches, conducted through four different studies. Firstly, a semi-structured interview study develops a PTM framework, describing the components of PTM (i.e. the underlying activities and contextual factors). Secondly, a member-checking study tests the accuracy of the framework. Thirdly, a video-diary study examines the inconsistencies discovered between the interview and member-checking studies. The findings extend the PTM framework to include other aspects of users (e.g. challenges, context awareness, etc.), broadening the understanding of the complexity of PTM behaviours. The data gathered in the user studies was analysed using a grounded theory (GT) approach, and the findings were then used to build personas of academics. Finally, an in-depth expert analytical evaluation of a set of existing tools using CASSM identifies the conceptual misfits between users and the existing tools. The contributions of this thesis are a development of the PTM framework, describing the key factors that influence academics in managing their tasks; a development of personas, explaining characteristics of different groups of academics and PTM strategies that they employ over time; and an evaluation of existing PTM tools, determining their strengths and limitations and providing recommendations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Improving Tool Support for Personal Task Management (PTM)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1450430
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