The thesis entails an investigation of bioinfonnatics work perfonned by bench scientists
through a variety of infonnation-based experimental activities and constant interaction with
domain-rich infonnation space, also known as the Bioinfonnatics Infonnation Space (BIS).
Ten research students from the Faculty of Pure Science at the University of Sheffield were
initially interviewed for this purpose. In-depth interviews were then conducted with four
students from Molecular Microbiology Research Group from the same faculty.
Those interviews resulted in the production of two bioinfonnatics work models, the first of
which is the Abstraction Hierarchy (AB). This model represents the bioinfonnatics work
domain within a situation-independent state. It is could be regarded as a functional inventory
map that provides infonnation on the basic functional features of the work domain. Further
enquiry into the work domain was conducted in a situation-dependent state through the
application of Beer's Viable System Model (VSM). The second model, the Process Recursion
Model (PRM), conceptualises bioinfonnatics work situations by means of multiple and
recursive structure. Viability diagnosis at each multi-level was perfonned by considering the
design and planning of a variety of experimental procedures for the Functional Analysis of
Gene Sequence Process (FAoGS), as well as the implementation of those procedures within
the context of infonnation behaviour activities.
The thesis suggests that the allocation of resources to support bioinfonnatics work was made
based on the needs of individual work situations. The bench scientists were incapable of
predicting future problematic work situations. Diagnosis to the bioinfonnatics work for
F AoGS also exposed the lack of functioning cohesive and adaptive mechanisms. However,
the PRM serves as a value-added tool and provides a novel way in representing the
complexity of bioinfonnatics work as a multiple recursion model. This provides high-level
representation of infonnation flow from one work situation to another. The model could be
decomposed further to assist system analysts in integrating infonnation-based activities, thus
revealing further solutions to providing effective infonnation delivery during bioinfonnatics
work. This would ensure that bench scientists employ the right infonnation for the right tasks
at the right time in order to achieve the ultimate purpose in experimentation, which is to
determine the putative function of target genes
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.