TU Wien:User Research Methods VU (Frauenberger)

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Daten[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

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Vortragende Christopher Frauenberger, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Katta Spiel, Laura Sophie Scheepmaker
Sprache English
Links tiss:187A68
Masterstudium Data Science
Masterstudium Media and Human-Centered Computing

Mattermost: Channel "user-research-methods"RegisterMattermost-Infos

Inhalt[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

As the PR and the VU are tightly linked (e.g. the PR uses methods described in the VU) at the moment of writing, these will be described here together.

The lecture covers various paradigms and methods of user research, that can and should be used preceeding any technological development. It covers the "understanding"-phase in the understanding-designing/prototyping-evaluating project cycle. The lecture starts off with the history of HCI, goes over general research paradigms, a host of different methods, research ethics, ways of analysis and ways of synthesizing/reporting the results. For the WS17 the lecture consisted of the following chapters:

  1. history: three waves of HCI
  2. paradigms
  3. qualitative methods intro
  4. observations
  5. interviews
  6. group techniques
  7. other methods
  8. ethics
  9. analysis
  10. role of theory
  11. surveys
  12. lab studies
  13. quantitative analysis
  14. towards design

You can find an extended outline (that lists sub-chapters) here as PDF- and MD-file. The attachments should also contain a slide-set from WS17.

Detailed outline as PDF: Datei:TU Wien-User Research Methods VU (Frauenberger) - ws17-lecture-outline.pdf

Detailed outline as MD: Datei:TU Wien-User Research Methods VU (Frauenberger) - ws17-lecture-outline.md.txt

Ablauf[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

WS17-VU: The "lecture with excercise" part has some fourteen chapters spread over eleven blocked, "front-loaded" dates in October and November, paired with several exercises:

  • 2 semi-structured interviews with researchers at the IGW, interviewing them about what they do and how they work. The interviews are done in groups of two. The results as well as the written interview guide need to be subbmitted.
  • a method report, exploring one of the user research methods presented in the lecture in-depth
  • peer-reviews on three other people's method report
  • a final report / seminar paper / essay either on the "relation of User Research to anticipated future HCI/design challenges" (the challenge report) or a discussion of available user research methods and when to use which (the standard report)
  • in-class discussions at the start of lectures, that draw on the mandatory-reading material available via TUWEL. In one case we produced posters as in-class exercise.

WS17-PR: For the project (PR) you need to pick a research topic as a group of four, create a research plan laying out what you're planning to do and then study the topic using five different methods of which at least one needs to be quantitative. At the end of the semester results are reported in a paper and a presentation.

Anything PR-related is documented on the IGW-wiki

Benötigte/Empfehlenswerte Vorkenntnisse[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

The more general HCI-related courses in the Bachelor's curriculum are recommended (i.e. Ways of Thinking in Informatics and Socially Embedded Computing), as well as courses that teach scientific writing (i.e. Scientific Research and Writing or most seminars for that matter).

Vortrag[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

The content is very interesting and highly relevant for people who want to work in HCI. Chris' style is relatively relaxed and easy to follow and there's quite a bit of interactive discussion with the lecturer as well as discussions at the tables (which also count towards the grade).

Übungen[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

See "Ablauf"

Prüfung, Benotung[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

WS17[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

The breakdown (and deadlines) from the intro-slides look like the following:


  • 15% Short Report – a review of methods (Similar to a ‘how to’ manual for methods, with examples of applications; template will be provided) (early Nov)
  • 15% Peer reviews of three Short Reports (mid of Nov)
  • 20% Quantitative Methods Quiz (mid of Nov)
  • 10% Contributions (in-class, practice case-studies, 2 page reflection report) (end of Dec)
  • 40% Final Report/Essay - Option to choose a standard (up to 35%) or challenge version (up to 40%) (end of Dec)


  • 10% Research Plan (mid of Nov)
  • 10% Final Presentation & Discussion lead on other group (end of Jan)
  • 50% Final »Conference Paper« (end of Jan)
  • 30% Project Wiki (documentation of process, data, analysis, reflection) (end of Jan)

Dauer der Zeugnisausstellung[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

In WS17 certificates both for the VU and the PR were handed out on (almost) the same day. The entry below reflects the end of the work for the PR. The last submission for the VU was a month ealier on Dec 29. If, for some reasone you're only doing the VU, I'm relatively sure you can talk to the course-organizers to get your certificate earlier, if you need it.

Semester Letzte Leistung Zeugnis
WS17 2018-01-31 2018-02-05 ~1 week

Zeitaufwand[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

The official breakdown went something like:


  • 34 hrs: In-class blocked sessions (Oct and Nov)
  • 13 hrs: Group exercises
  • 4 hrs: Quiz (incl prep)
  • 24 hrs: Assessment work


  • 15 hrs: In-class discussions / presentations feedback
  • 60 hrs: Group project work
    • 5 planning
    • 25 conduct
    • 15 analysis
    • 15 writing up

In my personal experience, both the reports for the VU and especially the user research for the PR take a lot more than that, especially the latter if you do work-intensive probes or need to do a lot of transcribing and coding.

Unterlagen[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

noch offen

Tipps[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

Start early with the PR work. Organizing participants will take a while. If you're doing any form of work with qualitative data, which you'll very likely will, make sure you get to transcribing and coding as early as possible to allow for enough time for theory crafting. Make sure the time-planning includes people catching colds or be out of action for other reasons. In my group we lost a half month to a month per person, which really screwed us over, given the workload. Thankfully the course-organizers are very empathic and relaxed. - (pheara)

If you're looking for a free, if a bit basic, multi-user coding tool, i can recommend QCAmap. It's specifically built to be used with Mayring's "Qualitative Content Analysis" mixed-method approach. It's not necessary by a long shot to use the full methodology, but knowing this might understanding some features. From a price-point it certainly beats out the student licenses of NVivo (~70€) and Atlas.ti (40€ for 6m, 75€ for 2y). - (pheara)

Use your resources. Ask other students to spread your surveys around, ask for funding. If your project is relevant to students specifically, there might also be some ÖH-resources for you to use, e.g. by doing a Sonderprojekt (German, contact HTU for Information in English). Ask lecturers to send your survey to other students. Ask other people doing the PR for preliminary feedback. Ask others for tools they're using and for alternatives to Google's infrastructure, especially if you're dealing with sensitive data. -- Kwe

Verbesserungsvorschläge / Kritik[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

More ECTS to match the required effort 😉 Alternatively, the number of methods in the PR might be reduced, then again there aren't many other lectures that include user-research and this one of the only chances to get experience in them.

Looking back now, the WS17-lecture was missing "ethics of care" as part of the ethics chapter.