The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter One Introduction

This thesis is concerned with the automatic identification (auto-ID) industry which first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Auto-ID belongs to that larger sector known as information technology (IT). As opposed to manual identification, auto-ID is the act of identifying a living or nonliving thing without direct human intervention. Of course the process of auto-ID data capture and collection requires some degree of human intervention but the very act of authenticating or verifying an entity can now be done automatically. An entity can possess a unique code indicating personal identification or a group code indicating conformity to a common set of characteristics. Some of the most prominent examples of auto-ID techniques that will be explored in this thesis include bar code, magnetic-stripe, integrated circuit (IC), biometric and radio-frequency identification (RF/ID). The devices in which these techniques are packaged include labels and tags, card technologies, human feature recognition, and implants. Generally the devices are small in size, not larger than that of a standard credit card.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Three Research Design

A qualitative research strategy was chosen over a quantitative one due to the complexity of the research problem. The study grants the qualitative researcher the ability to focus in on a grand tour question throughout the thesis, followed by subquestions within (Anderson & Kanuka 2003, p. 35). In this instance the investigation is mainly preoccupied with the auto-ID trajectory. This type of strategy allows the researcher unlimited inquiry in areas that he/she believes is required, finding synchronicity with the systems of innovation (SI) framework underlying the study. Intrinsic to this type of research, as stated by Creswell (1998, pp. 16-17), is a commitment to collect extensive data. This researcher has chosen to conduct data analysis using categories or like themes to make sense of the large amount of data collected. In this thesis, long quoted passages also characterise the style of presentation, not only to substantiate claims made by the researcher but also to show the diverse positions held by the various auto-ID stakeholders, pointing to key pieces of evidence throughout.

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