Program Committee

Mark Newman (, and Frank Ritter (

HCI Ways of Knowing, Part II: 'How We Know What We Know'

In 2010, HCIC featured a set of "tutorials" on the topic of what it means to know something in the field of HCI. That is, each tutorial focused on a particular research method or perspective and provided the attendees with thoughtful discussions of how and when to apply different approaches, tips for getting the most out of particular methods and avoiding pitfalls, and how proponents of the approach evaluate good from not-so-good applications of the approach's techniques. It was a success! Many attendees found the content quite valuable and the Governing Board elected to follow up 2010's success with a second round of tutorials to cover approaches not featured in Part I.

In 2011, we are carrying forward the broad goals of HCIC 2010, which were noted by the 2010 chairs, Wendy Kellogg and Judy Olson:

Over its history, HCI has become more eclectic in its scope, perspectives, and research methods. From a fairly narrow set of methods derived from Cognitive Psychology and Computer Science, HCI has grown to include methods from Sociology, Anthropology, Survey Research, and Design. Some aim at scientific discovery and explanation; others at the creation of high-quality artifacts and user experiences. All are meant to produce insight into HCI. We are not all expert in all of the methods, so it is hard, in many cases, to know whether to believe what we are told, to evaluate findings on their own terms (i.e., within the paradigm and against the standards of the method or approach used), or to appreciate knowledge embedded in unfamiliar work.

In addition, the current landscape of technology use offers a number of new opportunities and ways to collect and analyze data that we are just beginning to understand and that only a few are skilled in doing. Today it is possible to collect data from large numbers—perhaps millions—of users of web-based or mobile applications about the details of their interactions (e.g., navigation history, clicks, search terms, locations, etc). Analysis of millions of data points requires a different style of argumentation than conventional statistics, for example, and issues of sampling and effect size move to the center. We wish to provide tutorials and deep discussion about these new research issues and methods, about what questions they can and cannot answer, and limitations in interpretations.

In addition to discussions of HCI research methods, we are expanding the focus in 2011 to include discussions of advances in HCI practice methods—i.e., methods that can be employed in the human-centered design and evaluation of interactive systems. In particular, we will encourage presenters to think about what risks their methods help avoid. Within that broad purview, we are open to a variety of session structures, including having an expert in a method present the guidelines for applying and/or evaluating the method, presentations covering the theoretical background and justification for methodological choices, analyses of examples of research that apply the method, or some combination of all three. Presentations can be given by one or multiple people, and can consist of conventional presentations or hands-on tutorials as appropriate. Generally speaking, we plan to stick to the traditional HCIC session agenda of 30-minute presentations followed by a 15-minute discussant presentation and 45 minutes for open discussion. However, alternative uses of the 90-minute session time will be considered if it makes sense.

As this is Part II, our goal is to focus on the topics that were left out of Part I. Of course, some topics can be revisited if a sufficiently fresh perspective is proposed. HCIC 2010 (Part I) featured sessions on the following topics:

  • Cultural probes
  • Research through design
  • Design thinking/Design critique
  • Ethnography
  • Grounded theory
  • Behavioral log analysis
  • Online experiments
  • Information visualization/Exploratory data analysis
For HCIC 2011 (Part II), we are actively seeking presentations on topics such as:
  • Field studies in different domains, especially CSCW, Social Computing, and Ubicomp deployments
  • Wizard of Oz studies-how much can you fake?
  • Computer science research in HCI-advancing the technology (e.g., Machine Learning)
  • The role of application and system building in HCI research—why build? What to build?
  • Models and modeling, including math models, agent-based simulations, and econometric modeling
  • Content and conversational analysis, including selecting the coding scheme, attaining inter-coder reliability, and level of analysis
  • Ecologically-situated assessments, including experience sampling and diary studies
  • Crowdsourcing evaluation using systems like Mechanical Turk
  • Studies of adoption and appropriation of technology
  • Social network analysis
  • Surveys
  • Controlled lab-based studies in 2011
  • Perspectives to guide research into HCI practice

Based on the successful result of 2010, enthusiasm has grown around efforts to codify this discussion and its follow-on activities (e.g., an NSF sponsored workshop) in a book and an accompanying evolving web site, tentatively titled, "HCI Ways of Knowing: Methods, Measures and Issues in Their Use." To forward this process, there are tentative plans to create a video archive of the 2011 presentations to be shared among HCIC member institutions and potentially with a wider audience in the future. The process for forming this HCIC will be understandably different from the standard submission of papers, judging, and presenting. With this call, we are presenting some topic/session ideas, and are now soliciting additional ideas for topics and/or pointers to people who can give clear, balanced tutorials to the mixed-method/background audience that HCIC is. We ask interested parties to submit ideas by January 30, after which we will work with the submitters to put together a program that will be instructive, reflective, and inclusive.

Please reply NOW to Mark and Frank (, with three things:

  1. Which topics would you like to be tutored in/have a discussion around?
  2. Who might be good at presenting a tutorial/session on some of these topics?
  3. Which topics would you like to give a tutorial in (if any)? (Note, these can be tentative, non-binding proposals. While tentative, this will help with planning.)
If you would like to put together a tutorial/session, please write up 1-2 pages on what you would do in the session and who you would do this with (if anyone). DEADLINE for these 1-2 pagers, as well as all other suggestions, is January 30, 2010.

II. Boasters

A "Boaster" is an eight page or less paper. Boasters will be posted in their entirety at the HCIC web site, but only abstracts will be distributed at the conference. At the opening session of the meeting, all Boaster presenters will be asked to stand, announce their names and read the title and a 50 words abstract of their boasters or give a 2 minute overview. This procedure provides a valuable way of getting smaller papers and new authors - especially graduate students - to attend the conference and to interact with the attendees. Historically, we find that the resulting interactions have been beneficial for all concerned.


  1. A cover page with:
    • Title, author(s) (indicate those available to chat at meeting)
    • A one-word keyword
    • A 50 word abstract
  2. A paper of 8 pp or less.

Deadline for Boasters: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Directions for Boaster Submission:

Boasters must be submitted online in PDF format at the HCIC web page. All boasters are automatically accepted. There is no review process.

If you have any questions contact the HCIC Webmaster at

Creating PDF Files

If you do not have software available to create a PDF file, check out:

Presentation and Attendance Rules

The rules of the consortium state that only employees of member organizations may present major papers. Papers may have nonmember coauthors. However the board must approve either attendance or attendance and co-presentation. Obviously, invited speakers are exempt from this rule. Students are not eligible to present a major paper. However, they are strongly encouraged to submit a Boaster.

HCIC Online Paper Archives

All papers and boasters will be posted and archived on the HCIC web site. Additionally, we request that authors and discussants submit their slides to be posted online. Access to the HCIC website and paper archive is limited to member organizations (through IP address or password authentication). The HCIC web site is not indexed by public search engines. If you have any questions or concerns about the online papers archive, please contact Lai Tutt.