CN10 - Quantitative Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction

Scott MacKenzie, York University, Canada

Participants in this course will benefit by learning how to conduct quantitative (aka empirical) research in human-computer interaction. This course is of value to any member of the CHI community who does research, or, more specifically, quantitative research conforming to the scientific method. Of course, this includes those who wish to learn about, or refine their skill in, conducting such research (e.g., students).

A variation on the this course has been given five times: thrice at TAUCHI, the Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interaction at the University of Tampere, Finland, once at the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom, and at CHI 2007 in San Jose, CA. Portions of the course (in particular, the experiment with audience members serving participants and investigators) has been given several times in the first presenter's graduate courses on Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction at York University, Toronto.

A key feature of this course is participation in a real experiment (lasting about 30 minutes). Working in pairs and using a hand-out prepared by the presenter, attendees take turns acting both as participant (i.e., perform tasks while data are collected) and investigator (i.e., instruct the participant, administer the tasks, collect and record data). The experiment will have all the components of a "real experiment". There will be independent variables, dependent variables, counterbalancing, and so on.

Of the six HCI "communities" listed in the CHI 2008 web site, this course is best suited to the Design, Education, Engineering, and Research communities. No specific background is required other than a general knowledge of human-computer interaction as conveyed, for example, through an undergraduate HCI course or attendance at CHI conferences. Some knowledge of statistics is an asset, for example, knowing how to enter formulae in an Excel spreadsheet to compute means, standard deviations, etc. The course will also be of limited interest to individuals in the Management and Usability communities listed in the CHI 2008 web site.

Power point slides, real-time demos, group participation

Instructor background:
Scott MacKenzie's research is in human-computer interaction with an emphasis on human performance measurement and modeling, experimental methods and evaluation, interaction devices and techniques, alphanumeric entry, language modeling, and mobile computing. He has more than 80 publications in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (including more than 25 from the ACM's annual SIGCHI conference) and has given numerous invited talks over the past 15 years. Since 1999, he has been Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at York University, Canada.

See for further details about this CHI course.