Homework 1 - Discovering discoveries
Andrew J. Ko
Bill Buxton, a prominent HCI researcher, designer, and writer, has often said that seeing the future is easy: researchers, if they've been doing their job, have already defined it. Therefore, for a product designer, the hard part isn't necessarily conceiving of the future, but finding futures that have already been invented, and deciding whether now is the right time to bring them to market. In fact, Bill has claimed that there's a roughly 15 year window for most valuable research innovations to make it to market (if not longer). That means that the next big idea in technology was invented more than 15 years ago!
In this first homework, you're going to practice finding these futures that have already been invented. Your task is relatively simple:
- Choose an interaction paradigm or domain of interactive systems you're personally excited about. Maybe it's augmented reality, innovations in learning technology, gesture or voice-based interactions, or some other interest you have in user interface software and technology. Because homeworks in this class will build upon each other, choose something you're willing to think about all quarter.
- Conduct a literature search for recent literature on this topic. Here's a good strategy:
- Ask an expert for the right terminology for the ideas you're trying to find. Leverage the numerous HCI faculty and Ph.D. students on campus. Ask me if you don't know who to ask. If you're already confident you know the search terms, you can skip this step.
- Using Google Scholar or Semantic Scholar, query for the search terms your experts gave you.
- Systematically review the search results of each query you do, reading the titles and abstracts of each papers. Find at least 12 papers you find most relevant to your interest.
- For each paper you believe is in scope, use the academic search engine to record the citation for the paper. Be sure to capture a version of the citation that includes a link to the paper so you can easily navigate back to the paper. The best source of such citations is the ACM digital library citation.
- To ensure you've found the most recent results, navigate to the ACM Digital Library's Proceedings list and find the table of contents for the latest proceedings of the UIST, CHI, Ubicomp, and IUI conferences. Review each research paper in the table of contents, again capturing citations for any papers within scope of your interest.
- Finally, for each paper in your list, use Google Scholar to view a list of the papers that each paper cites, and the list of papers that cite each paper. You don't have to do this recursively; just look one level deep for each paper. (If you were a Ph.D. student, you would need to find every relevant paper). Add any papers you find relevant to your interest to your list.
- Using the list of citations, the abstracts for each paper, and any videos included for the research paper, reflect on the overarching trends in the research contributions you found. Write a single paragraph describing 1) the scope of what you searched for and 2) what research has discovered. Imagine you are writing to a supervisor interested in product opportunities in your space. Your goal isn't to to convince them to invest (yet), but to just teach them about the opportunity space.
Submit your single paragraph and a bibliography of at least 12 citations to Canvas for credit.
Time box the above task to 3 hours. For example, you might give 20 minutes to choose a scope, 40 minutes to ask for search term advice from faculty or students, 90 minutes to find relevant papers, and 30 minutes to write your summary. To keep yourself to this time limit, don't read each paper in depth (yet), just rely on the titles and abstracts to give you a coarse sense of the focus of the work.
This homework is worth 5 points:
- You get 0.25 points for every citation you include (up to 3 points)
- You get 2 points for a concise and coherent description of the papers' discoveries. If the summary is not concise, is not coherent, is not either, we may give partial credit.
Note that I don't expect the summary to be "correct" at a low level: 3 hours isn't enough time to do this perfectly. Rather, you're looking for a high-level gist of research discoveries, which will help you decide whether to pursue this further, and if so, how.