Semi-Structured Qualitative Studies in HCI

Speaker:  Ann Blandford – London, United Kingdom
Topic(s):  Human Computer Interaction


HCI addresses problems of interaction design: delivering novel designs, evaluating existing designs, and understanding user needs for future designs. Qualitative methods have an essential role to play in this enterprise, particularly in understanding user needs and behaviours and evaluating situated use of technology. There are, however, a huge number of qualitative methods, often minor variants of each other, and it can seem difficult to choose (or design) an appropriate method for a particular study.  In this talk, I present an approach to designing semi-structured qualitative studies, whether for gathering user requirements, evaluating the situated use of a new technology, or doing a research project on technology use in practice. Semi-structured qualitative studies occupy a space between ethnography and surveys, typically involving observations, interviews and similar methods for data gathering, and methods for analysis based on systematic coding of data. I take a pragmatic approach, focusing on principles for designing, conducting and reporting on a qualitative study and conversely, as a reader, assessing a study. The starting premise is that all studies have a purpose, and that methods need to address that purpose, taking into account practical considerations. I introduce various methods for conducting studies, whether in the workplace, people’s homes, or out-and-about, and consider some of the pitfalls of designing and conducting studies that threaten their validity or utility.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  35
Duration:  60 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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