Research Methods in HCI Tutorial

This is a page supporting a tutorial delivered at HCI 2008. Here is the Proposal that we produced for that tutorial. Anna and I would be happy to offer this tutorial again to other groups or organisations. Just contact us if you are interested.
Contacts: Dr Anna Cox, UCL
Dr Paul Cairns, University of York


Are you confused about which method would best suit your research? Do you think it might help to learn more about experimental design? Or how to do qualitative research? The aim of this tutorial is to help researchers, particularly early career researchers, to address these questions by developing knowledge of different research methods used in HCI and how they might apply to their particular research problems.

HCI draws on a wide variety of disciplines which means that there is a wide variety of methods that a researcher could use and moreover new researchers may have education or experience in only a small fraction of the methods available. In this tutorial we will introduce you to a variety of different methods, their strengths and pitfalls and examples of best practice in HCI.


The topics covered in class were:

Additionally, we used writing as a way of formulating research ideas and arriving at suitable methods.


Dr Anna Cox, University College London
Dr Paul Cairns, University of York
Prof. Harold Thimbleby, University of Wales, Swansea
Natalie Webb, usability consultant, Matau Ltd

Materials used

Here are the slides used in the course:

  1. Introduction and research questions
  2. Overview of methods used:
  3. Writing for research

Accompanying book

The tutorial is based on our book of the same name. This will provide a useful resource that complements the activities of the tutorial.

Research Methods book cover Cairns, P. and Cox, A.L. (2008) Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction Cambridge University Press

'Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction is a wonderful resource, for both students and practitioners, who need to take a scientific approach to the design of user interfaces. [....]' Dr Alan Blackwell, Reader in Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory