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CSC8609 : Project in Human-Computer Interaction

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Abi Durrant
  • Lecturer: Dr Nick Taylor
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 40.0
European Credit Transfer System


1. To give students the opportunity to apply knowledge, research methods and design skills from their taught
courses to the development, execution and dissemination of a Human-Computer Interaction research project.

2. To give students practical experience of HCI design and evaluation in-the-wild.

3. To give students the experience of collaborating with academics and external organisations in the development
and execution of Human-Computer Interaction research.

4. To provide students with an understanding and experience of reporting Human-Computer Interaction research.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is comprised of two components. Part 1 is a taught component that pulls together key elements from pre-requisite courses, and introduces students to theories of research in the sciences, humanities and design. This will include considering the structure and content of good research proposals in Human-Computer Interaction and the skills and knowledge required to develop a high-quality research proposal and ethics submission; and peer-learning workshops, feedback sessions, and one-on-one support as they develop a research proposal.

1. What is research? How does this differ in design, science, social science and the arts and humanities?
2. What is design-led research and how can it be deployed in Human-Computer Interaction?
3. What are the essential components of a research proposal and what is their purpose? (e.g. aims & objectives, the contribution to knowledge, methodology and case studies, findings and analysis, implications and conclusions)
4. Finding a problem area and working with peers, external partners and supervisors
5. Defining and refining a research approach
6. Writing your proposal and ethics submission

Part 2 involves the execution and dissemination of a design-led research project in Human-Computer Interaction. The project topic and plan must be approved by the module coordinator. Students will be required to provide an interim report (documenting their progress) and make a final presentation as well as produce a substantial written report.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion131:0031:00Preparation/ delivery: project presentation- accompanies asynchronous lecture materials blocks
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion118:0018:00Preparation for group session/ prepare pitch for proposal (e.g. graphic materials, presentation etc)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Preparation of project proposal
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1120:00120:00Writing & submission of a research or implementation & evaluation report
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading181:0018:00Desk research/ reading lecture materials/ making connections with other modules as prep for pitch
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Pip - Live discussion, small group activities, feedback and Q&A on set reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Synchronous present-in-person one-to-one feedback sessions on draft research proposals
Guided Independent StudyProject work1432:00432:00Research project work & progress reporting e.g. study design, data collection, data analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Pitch ideas session: synchronous online session, discussion and Q&A on pitched ideas
Guided Independent StudyProject work102:0020:00Fieldwork desk research, (online) engagement with partner organisations / communities / user groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery33:009:00present-in-person: Supported work on applied research project and writeup.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Background reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision161:0016:00Synchronous and asynchronous online communication with supervision team
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study140:0040:00Researching literature (for proposal)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Because of the diverse disciplinary perspective in HCI the module begins with short introductions and guided learning on the subject of what research is, in order for students to develop a critical understanding of different approaches to research and to understand what concepts like contribution to knowledge, and design-led enquiry mean. The style of this module is problem-driven (writing a research proposal/ethical submission and executing & reporting on a research project) and learning-by-doing. There are also strong elements of peer-review and group learning as this is consistent with the course teaching and learning philosophy of collaborative and cross-disciplinary learning. Since the HCI students come to the module with different skills and interests, there are significant opportunities for one-to-one and peer-based learning, as well as interaction with current PhDs and postdoctoral researchers.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report3M15Final research proposal (circa 4000 word report).
Research paper3M757000-8500 word academic paper in ACM format (describing the research project) with supporting data appendices.
Prof skill assessmnt2M5Presentation slides & oral presentation for outline proposal.
Prof skill assessmnt3M5Presentation slides & oral presentation for research project.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will develop an outline proposal and give an initial presentation that will be assessed and critiqued by a panel of HCI researchers. The feedback students receive will then be used in the development a full research proposal that will be assessed by the module coordinator. In practice research outcomes are appropriately expressed in peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international meetings. The assessment of this module reflects the realities of HCI research and trains the students in the necessary skills required to write an academic paper (describing the conduct and results of their research project) and present research at meetings of the academic community. The short thesis (in the form of a research paper) tests the student’s ability to: critically evaluate their own data and the published literature, to present and analyse data; and discuss their own work in a written format. The presentation of the research project (assessed by a panel of HCI researchers as part of a module “mini-conference”) tests the student’s ability to prepare and deliver short summaries of their project in clear and concise formats to an audience of peers in a time-constrained and word-limited fashion.

Reading Lists