Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zimmerman, Forlizzi and Evenson

I had to go back and re-read the CHI paper by Zimmerman, Forlizzi and Evenson from 2007 "Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI". It was a pleasure to read it again and it made me more sure and convinced about their basic argument, which is that there is a possibility for people with design competence to use that specific design competence when doing research. They do a great job in proposing how such (design) research can be carried out, and maybe even more important, they discuss how to evaluate that kind of research and how it differs from "real" research. I think there are way too many HCI researchers today who do not do "real" research, instead they perform a sloppy version of design research, but without understanding the relation between design and research in the way that these authors propose. I hope we will see a change in the field. Read their paper!

3 comments:

WillOdom said...

Serendipitous. I brought up this paper in a discussion after class today. Unequivocally, a problematic situation arises in establishing some sort of criteria to evaluate design research within an interdisciplinary context. While all four criterion are important, (i) Process & (iv) Extensibility pose the most interesting challenges and potential insights. In a well suited analogy to anthropological fieldwork, the authors assert that the articulation of one's process is not aimed providing basis for reproducibility, but rather revealing the underlying argument implicit in each unique process. Extensibility refers to judgment of the outcome and it contribution of design knowledge to the broader community. The authors make a strong (and much needed) case for legitimate consideration of interaction design research within HCI. Even so, can we effectively evaluate [and advance] design research within such a wide ranging, interdisciplinary context?

Kevin Makice said...

I found the original CHI talk to be very enticing for new researchers. Re-reading the paper, especially in the context of the Schon material, I believe this paper is a great service to the HCI community to help frame research in common language and goals.

When I wrote about this in May, my only big contention was with the requirement for invention. Repetition is good science (to add evidence to a theory, or to help iterate it through its flaws), and it is also good design (since the context of our artifacts are constantly changing).

Erik Stolterman said...

Hi Will and Kevin

Thanks for your insightful comments. I think we need more of paper and text critique so this is good!!

Erik