Applied Research Methods — Qualitative

Course Number: 
Semester and Units: 
First Mini: 6 units
Course Description: 

This mini (6-week) course is for Ph.D. students who are conducting empirical qualitative research. The course is especially but not exclusively designed for those interested in any aspect of technology in groups and organizations (social aspects, design, impact, etc.). The mini will be taught as a workshop with discussion and hands-on exercises and homework each week. Topics in the course will include: interviewing and field observation (including online), ethnographic research and analysis (with emphasis on grounded theory), interview and observational coding using software, descriptive statistics often used in conjunction with qualitative analysis or mixed methods (correlation, Chi Square, Kappa), and writing qualitative papers. In the past, student projects included such topics as how people use social media, responses to interactive robots and agents, collaboration in teams, and use of sensors to understand or change health practices. Students will write a research proposal or a short paper. The intent of the course is not to compete with students’ regular research; often, topics are chosen in conjunction with students’ advisors.

This course does not teach HCI professional methods such as contextual inquiry and design that are covered in Introduction to HCI Methods and in various design courses. This course also does not cover advanced statistical and computational analyses such as text mining. The statistics introduced will help students learn appropriate descriptive numerical data used in qualitative research, show how to organize and prepare data for simple statistical analysis, show how to apply the methods using the JMP graphical statistical package, and instruct on how to describe categorical data in qualitative papers.

Sara Kiesler