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Qualitative methods in design research


The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the use of qualitative methods in design research.

The seminar provides an overview about current discussions in HCI and design research and explores traditions and fundamentals of these threads. Based on readings of key papers and book chapters, we will take a detailed look at the role of different schools of qualitative methods for design research. In doing so, we will put a special focus on the “Siegener” approach by discussing contemporary papers by Siegener researchers from a methodological point of view.


The lecture is organized as a seminar where one or more readings are assigned for each session. Your overall grade for the class will be made up of 30% reading summaries, 60% term paper, and 10% participation.

Readings and Summaries

The articles and papers we read in this seminar are listed below in the schedule. All readings will be made available online. At the beginning of each reading session, the paper or article is summarized by one participant with regard to the following questions:

  • What do you think the author is most concerned about regarding this issue? OR, what are you most concerned about regarding this issue?
  • What do you think the author is most optimistic about regarding this issue? OR, what are you most optimistic about regarding this issue?

The presentation of the summary should be about 20 minutes followed by half an hour discussion. We expect all participants to read the relevant papers and chapters as a basis for the discussion.

Term paper

We will also assign you to groups to write a term paper together on a topic concerning the social analysis of digital media and technology. For supporting you with the writing of the paper, we will organize two editorial sessions in the lecture—one early to assign topics and provide you with advice on how scientific papers are written, and a second one later in the semester where each group presents the current state and gets for discussion in the plenum.

Papers should be around 3000 words (please include a word count at the bottom of the paper.), please use the  ACM CHI Extended Abstract Paper Template. Writing your paper we also recommend to take into account the resources and FAQs compiled by Jef Brubaker.

All writing assignments will be submitted digitally due at 25.1.2011

3678 Bytes  -  Last Modified: 2011-10-18 23:25, Gunnar Stevens (stevens)