This is a project based course. In this course you will use the techniques discussed in class and in reading to collect, organize, analyze, and present qualitative research. Students will be expected to work in pairs throughout the quarter. The last half of the class will be primarily a workshop during which students will discuss their experiences in the field and their ongoing data collection.
Students are responsible for choosing their own groups and for choosing and negotiating entree into their own research sites. Negotiation of entree into a research site is a fundamental skill for undertaking qualitative research.
As we are concerned with Human-Computer Interaction and Computer Supported Cooperative Work projects should ideally have some relationship to technology, collaborative work, or information use and production, however this is not a strict rule. With the advent of ever more ubiquitous computing, pretty much any site can be of interest.
The project will furnish materials for in-class analysis. For most of the quarter a majority of class time will be devoted to data sessions in which groups discuss material (field notes, interview transcripts, and/or memos) and experiences in the field for collective discussion. Group data sessions provide you with input on your project from other perspectives and offer and opportunity to learn from each others experiences including how to deal with problems and how to refine techniques.
Your complete binder should contain the following:
1) Final paper. 1 report is due per student team (25%)
2) Memos, Transcribed Interview (1 per student) + Field Notes (5%)
3) Codebook (5%)
The final paper should be 17-20 pages double spaced including references. Appendices are not included in the page count. Please make sure that each section has an introductory statement or two and that you have transitions. Subheaders and subtitles are not sufficient for transitions between sections. The paper will be graded according to the following rubric:
The introduction should introduce the research question and say why the research question is of interest to HCI/CSCW/IS. Why should a reader who is in our field be interested in this topic? Why is this topic timely? Also, take the time to thoughtfully introduce the purpose and apporach of your study.
Literature Review 5%
An excellente literature review will help the reader understand what we should be learning from your review of the literature and should be related to your research question and also set the stage for your later analysis and findings. In other words, you should say something about the literature and not just summarize.
Site Description and Methods 5%
A detailed and compelling description of the site is very important for qualitative research. The reader should understand specifically what the research site looks and feels like, but also an general understanding for the ebb and flow of people in this places. Images and maps can be useful here too. This is a methods course so talk about the methods you are using. Write it as if you are writing for someone who has not taken a qualitative methods course.
Findings and Analysis 9%
The findings and analysis section is most important section where you present the results of of your analysis, revealing some new classifications of behavior or activities and ideally new ways of understanding of how people do what they do at your research site. You can also have subsections. Err on the side of over-explaining things.
Conclusion (Ramifications for HCI/CSCW/IS and Future Directions) 3%
Avoid the temptation to merely rehash what you've said already in the same words. Summarize and rephrase, yes, but also talk more broadly about what ramifications your study might have for researchers in the field in general. This is also an opportunity to talk about useful future directions. But don't go "pie-in-the-sky", your future directions should build directly from your findings.
Please note: in order to conduct your class research project, you must complete online training to conduct human subjects research. The CITI course is available the via the Human Subjects Division's website. Please complete the entire Social and Behavioral Research Course. The website says that it takes 3-5 hours, but experiences suggests that it takes far less time. There is shorter student course, but as students very often end up having to take the full course later anyway, I am strongly recommending that everyone go ahead and take the full course. The full course is mandatory should you want to present research in any kind of public venue.