Turning Interaction Design Students Into Co-Researchers: How We Tried This and Somewhat Failed
Paper in proceeding, 2015
There are many potential benefits of involving university students in research (as researchers, not subjects). It can help students to increase their retentive knowledge in the subject they study, and also develop research skills such as problem framing and analysis. While disciplines such as psychology and medicine have a tradition of students contributing to research publications, Design and Product Development does not. This indicates an untapped potential for researchers in these fields to more actively engage their students in their work.
In the spring of 2014, we made an effort to involve Interaction Design master's students in our research. It was in a Product Development course on "User Requirements Elicitation". The research itself dealt by comparison with the effectiveness of two research methods; namely, individual interviews compared to group interviews. During the course, students in groups made a quantitative and qualitative comparison of the two methods. It was clear that the students did not appreciate this initiative. Their opinion was that it did not have a high enough "pay-off" in relation to their efforts. The course received very low scores when the students evaluated it. However, we could see quite clearly that they had developed an in-depth knowledge of the compared methods. The students also discussed issues such as reliability and validity of their research in a way that we had not seen in the course in its previous years. The whole experiment resulted in significant knowledge generation regarding how (and how not) to involve students in research.
user requirements elicitation