The course introduces students to the different types of research methods commonly used within HCI research, from quantitative experimental studies to qualitative research methods and mixed method strategies, and present case studies as examples illustrating the use of these methods. As these methods all come from different directions, it provides an overview of the different (interdisciplinary) perspectives within HCI. The focus of this course is on qualitative methodologies and what is important for these both on a practical and theoretical-conceptual level.
Students will get to know a variety of methodological approaches (interviews, observation, questionnaires, ethnography, field studies, diary studies, experience sampling) and gain practical experience in utilizing a selection of these methods through practical assignments and mini-projects, and through work with the research literature. They will further learn about different data analysis strategies, gain an understanding of the different quality criteria inherent to qualitative versus quantitative style research, and of how to productively combine qualitative and quantitative methods in a research strategy.
The course will furthermore show how the role of theory in HCI has expanded from the early days of human factors and mathematical modelling of behaviour to include explanatory and generative theories, which reflect influences from fields such as design, sociology, and ethnography.
Successful students should be able to
- appreciate the diversity of research methods and relate them to research paradigms and theory
- select research methods appropriate to the domain and research question, based on an understanding of the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and practical demands of methods
- reflect on ethical aspects of study design
- utilize a range of HCI research methods and approaches to investigate a research question
- design, plan, and organize user studies and interpret the data
- report and present user studies and findings properly
- relate the role of theory in HCI to the expanding range of methodical approaches utilized for HCI research