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Department of Computer Science

Paul Cairns, MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

My research interests include:

  • Research methods for interactive technologies
  • Measurement of user experience
  • Player experience in digital games
  • Games for health and wellbeing

As interactive technologies touch on all aspects of modern life, research in this area needs to draw on the disciplines and methods of several fields including computer science, psychology and the social sciences. I place a strong emphasis on good research methods and, with my work, try to exemplify best practice in diverse methods as well as communicating to others what that best practice is.

My books

Statistics is an important tool in Human-Computer Interaction research but there are often lots of questions about how to do it well. I wrote this book to try to answer some of those questions:

Statistics in HCI book cover Cairns, P. (2019) Doing Better Statistics in Human-Computer Interaction, Cambridge University Press.

'This is a must-read book for novice or well-establisehd researchers alike, who are worried about whether they are conducting the correct statistical analyses of their data [....]' Professor Anna Cox, University College London

I co-edited with Anna Cox the first book on research methods specific to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI):

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

Why people engage with interactive systems and what that means is key to successful interactive technologies. With Heather O'Brien, I co-edited:

Why Engagement Matters book cover

User Engagement (UE) is a complex concept to investigate. The purpose of this book is not to constrain UE to one perspective, but to offer a well-rounded appreciation for UE across various domains and disciplines.

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