Welcome to Empirical Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction

Description: This course is for students who are interested in learning about or refining their skill in empirical research methods in interactive systems and human-computer interaction. The course will be of particular interest to researchers (including graduate students) who are striving to develop and evaluate new interfaces or interaction techniques, with the goal of publishing the results in a research journal or conference proceedings. As well as studying methods of evaluation with users, the course includes a focus on building and testing models of interaction, including descriptive, analytic, and predictive models.

The following topics are included in this course:

  • Historical context (brief history of HCI)
  • Scientific foundations
  • What is empirical research?
  • What is the scientific method?
  • Research methods (experimental, correlational, observational)
  • Discovering and narrowing in on topics suitable for research in HCI
  • Formulating "testable" research questions
  • Modeling Interaction
  • Types of models (descriptive, analytic, predictive)
  • Examples of models (keystroke-level models, Fitts' law, 3-state model for graphical input,
  • bimanual control model, etc.)
  • How to design a user experiment to answer research questions
  • Parts of an experiment (independent variables, dependent variables, counterbalancing, etc.)
  • A real in-class experiment will be conducted (~30 minutes)
  • Experiment results (graphs, correlations, analysis of variance, etc.)
  • Experiment design issues (choosing between within subjects vs. between subjects factors,
  • internal validity, external validity, control variables, confounding variables,
  • counterbalancing test conditions)
  • How to organize and write a successful research paper

Format: Lectures with  in-classes exercises. Students are encouraged to ask questions and initiate discussions during the lectures.

Organizer: Assoc. Professor Mikael Skov, e-mail: dubois@cs.aau.dk 

Lecturers: Scott MacKenzie, York University, Canada


Time: October 14-16, 2019

Place: Aalborg (venue to be decided)

Zip code: 


Number of seats: 20

Deadline: 23 September, 2019

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 5,000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately three months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.