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Module DBB03 - ID Masters Programme

Qualitative Research Methods

The aim of this course is for students to familiarize with methods and processes for performing qualitative research to support interaction design.

Qualitative research methods have developed largely within the social sciences and recently have been applied to the field of interaction design. This application is usually combined with a mix of creativity and elements of surprise introduced in the research, but also often with a lack of the methodological knowledge needed to analyze the data collected or to put the findings into perspective.  

This course aims to provide interaction designers with an awareness of processes for analysing non numerical data, but also related caveats and opportunities.  It aims also to provide them with a reference framework so that the numerous combinations and variations of known methods that they may apply in a particular project can be related to each other. Most of all, the objective is to break mental barriers between research and design and to show how a scientific approach to studying humans may be revealing and rewarding for interaction designers.


The course is given twice a year.  For the academic year 2006-2007 it will be run at the following dates:

The rough schedule of the module is as follows



Meetings / Lecture / Presentations


Mon 25/2


hg 3.02



Lecture: Introduction to Qualitative Research

Exercise 1: Method Poster

 In pairs. Create your extended method card (A3 method poster).

Tue 26/2 10:45-12:30

auditorium 12


Lecture: Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis Exercise 2: Scenario Validation Exercise

In teams of 4 :

Deliverable: Presentation and report on your process and findings.  Suggest (and pilot if possible) future steps for triangulating your findings or answering open questions.

Wed 27/2



hg 0.40

Poster show (presentation ex 1)

Thur 28/2     .

Fri  29/2


HG 3.02


Ex.2 Presentations of your analysis, follow up study plan proposal and reflection.



Assignment 1

Describe one of the methods presented to you in cards or available in the reading material below as a method-poster, describing:

Assignment 2

Analyze as a team at least 3 of the scenarios that were posted to you on the study web.

Your assignment is to understand for about 3 of these scenarios what the assumptions are specifically for each scenario and to conduct a small qualitative research to answer the qeustion:

To answer this question teams are supposed to choose a different method each among the following:

Gather the data, convert it to textual form that is possible to analyze using the technique shown to you.

Report your results in a presentation and a report, reflecting also on the potential sources of bias.

About the Coursework

    - Exercise 1 should be performed by teams of 2.

    - Exercise 2 (parts a and b) should be performed in teams of 4-5.

It is not allowed to be in the same team with a particular colleague in both exercises.  

Recommended textbook

Bacground Reading

Previous Runs of this Course

Oct 2007, Mar 2007,