This page contains information about and links to current research on the Imitation Game. It is intended to complement the Imitation Game pages on the ALL @ SEE website.
The Imitation Game is a new research method that grows out of the sociological nature of Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE). Initially conceived as a way of testing the idea of interactional expertise, it has now become a methodological project in its own right with potential applications including: understanding interdisciplinarity and multi-agency working, researching social integration, and comparative, cross-cultural and longitudinal research.
The method is based on the Turing Test used in Artificial Intelligence research and explores the extent to which participants are able to reproduce the discourse of different social groups. The idea is that, where socialisation has enabled participants to develop interactional expertise, they will be indistinguishable from contributory experts even though they have no practical experience. In contrast, where participants do not have the socialisation needed to develop interactional expertise they will be identified as non-experts by the judge.
The Imitation Game method featured in one of the 'What is...' sessions at the ESRC Research Methods Festival held at Oxford on 5-8 July 2010. The powerpoint file for the presentation is available from the Festival website
There are a couple of publications that describe the Imitation Game method in some detail. They are listed below in date order. The chapter in Gorman's book provides more practical detail; the SHPS paper describes the underlying theory in more detail.
Collins, H.M. Evans, Robert, Ribeiro, Rodrigo and Hall, Martin (2006), ‘Experiments with Interactional Expertise, Studies In History and Philosophy of Science, Volume 37, No. 4 (Dec 2006), pp. 656-674. <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2006.09.005>
Evans, Robert and Collins, Harry (2010) ‘Interactional Expertise and the Imitation Game’, in Michael Gorman (ed) Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise: Creating New Kinds of Collaboration. Chicago, IL.: MIT Press. Pp. 53-70.
Harry Collins and Robert Evans (2010) 'The Imitation Game: A new method for sociological research'. Available from ALL @ SEE website
Further information, including sample instructions and other information, is available from the Imitation Game pages on the ALL @ SEE website.
Last updated on 26 November, 2010