CPSC 681: Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction

This specialized course stresses evaluation methods for performing research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). In particular, students will:

  • investigate, compare and contrast a wide variety of existing evaluation methodologies,
  • understand where and how each methodology is appropriate to particular interface design and evaluation situation,
  • apply several of these methodologies to HCI problems,
  • gain first-hand in-depth experiences with a particular methodology by designing, running, and interpreting a study of the student's choosing.

CPSC 681 is not an introduction to the field of HCI. If you are looking for a general course concerning user experience design, CPSC 481 and CPSC 581 would be a far better choice.

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  1.   1.  Course Information
  2.   2.  Evaluation
  3.   3.  Preparation
  4.   4.  Structure and work load
  5.   5.  Readings
  6.   6.  Reading Responses
  7.   7.  Other Resources
  8.   8.  Podcasts and Presentations

1.  Course Information

  • Meeting Times: Monday & Wednesday, 10:00-11:15
  • Tentative Schedule
  • Pre-requisite: Consent from the department

2.  Evaluation

3.  Preparation

The fully prepared student:

  • has already taken CPSC 481: Human Computer Interaction I (or equivalent)
  • has practice designing and evaluating interfaces using usability engineering techniques,
  • is now pursuing a graduate project that has a major interface component in it.

Graduates and professionals outside of Computer Science can participate in this course (requires discussion and permission of the instructor):

  • Psychology / Human Factors / Educational Psychology
  • Industrial Design
  • Computational Media Design
  • Professionals working with interface design and/or evaluation

If you are not prepared, I would be happy to talk to you about your prospects. If you do not have any background in HCI, interface design, or human factors, you will have to bring yourself up to speed on your own time. You can gain background in several ways, including: reviewing, sitting in or taking the undergraduate HCI course (CPSC 481) during the term; reading several of the background books mentioned in the background reading list.

4.  Structure and work load

The course is a seminar and project-based course that meets for a total of 2.5 hours per week. For each class, you will:

  • have a heavy required reading load.
  • take turns presenting and leading discussions on the material you have read.
  • participate in all discussions of the material.

During the term, you will:

  • research a particular methodology, where you will deliver an in-depth oral and written introduction and tutorial;
  • pursue a project involving an evaluation, where you will apply a methodology to a particular problem defined by you, by others, or by the instructor;
  • carry out exercises on particular methods.

5.  Readings

6.  Reading Responses

Reading responses are expected by 8pm the night before the class where the readings are due. You are expected to produce an online response to the readings, posting thoughts about: (1) the problem being addressed by the reading; (2) the motivation for the work; (3) the approach/solution; (4) the evaluation; (5) the contribution, and (6) questions/issues raised that the student would ask of the researchers/work. The quality and conciseness of these responses will be considered.

This year, we will be posting responses on .

7.  Other Resources

8.  Podcasts and Presentations