PC1 Scientific Methods: Hands-on Research from Conceptualizing to Data Analysis


The sessions will deliver a crash course in scientific methods with a focus on human subject research by encouraging the swift exploration of new research ideas and hands-on learning of research methods and procedures. Research questions will target the suggested topic of “Creativity and Intelligence”. Mirroring the concept of “hackatons” and “game jams”, participants will be invited to prototype pre-studies, and execute initial trial runs together with a rough analysis. This can be done along the example of existing studies and data, or the participants may choose to produce their own exploratory research. In the latter case, first outcomes will be summarized as a presentation or poster. The course discusses frequent limitations and biases of scientific methods and provides a practical exploration on the importance of pre-studies and pilot studies in early instances of novel research. The method course encourages an open-minded approach and welcomes challenges and problems in experiment designs as learning opportunities.

Session 1:
Background information on the concept of rapid research prototyping. A general introduction to the scientific method and human subject research with a focus on quasi-experimental quantitative small-n research (study designs, research methods, procedures, types of analysis, ethics, etc.).
Practical part: brainstorming a research question, designing a research concept.

Session 2:
Part II of the introduction to scientific methods and human subject research. Limitations and challenges are discussed along practical examples.
Practical part: Groups present research concepts. Peer ethics review. Study preparation and implementation. Optional: internal pilot runs.

Session 3:
Methods and precautions for presenting early research results. Progress presentations and feedback. Discussion of questions resulting from ongoing group work.
Practical part: Fixes / improvements to study procedures and materials. Optional: trial runs, analysis and preparation of a brief results presentation.

Session 4:
Group presentations with a discussion of the results and interpretation. Reflection on the process and lessons learned in the larger context of scientific methods and human subject research in different research areas.
Practical part: Optional: last improvements regarding analysis, results, and presentation. Possibly prepare a public presentation for the other attendees of IK’17.


Participants will gain a broad overview of scientific methods and human subject research, and they will gain hands-on experience. To those who are new to experimental research, the course will provide basic information about research methods and a first practical experience. To those who have prior experience, the course will challenge the established approaches and provide a rapid-prototyping experience. A broad selection of rather entertaining micro-research topics can be expected to emerge from this course.


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Komssi, M., Pichlis, D., Raatikainen, M., Kindstrom, K., & Jarvinen, J. (2015). What are Hackathons for? IEEE Software, 32(5), 60–67. http://doi.org/10.1109/MS.2014.78

Lazar, J., Feng, J. H., & Hochheiser, H. (2010). Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction (1st ed.). Wiley.

Maxwell, S. E. (2004). The persistence of underpowered studies in psychological research: causes, consequences, and remedies. Psychological Methods, 9(2), 147–163. http://doi.org/10.1037/1082-989X.9.2.147

Seltman, H. J. (2010). Experimental design and analysis (Vol. 26). Retrieved from http://www.stat.cmu.edu/~hseltman/309/Book/Book.pdf

Wilcox, R. (2011). Modern Statistics for the Social and Behavioral Sciences: A Practical Introduction. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Course location


Course requirements


Instructor information.

Instructor's name

Jan Smeddinck


cf. website


Jan Smeddinck is a doctoral candidate at the Digital Media Lab of the TZI Center for Computing and Communication Technologies at the University of Bremen in Germany. Building on his background in human-computer interaction, interaction design, serious games, human computation, and embodied conversational agents, he is currently focusing on the interaction between humans and adaptable - as well as adaptive - systems. Prior to starting his doctoral thesis project on the topic of “Human-Computer Interaction with Adaptable & Adaptive Motion-based Games for Health” he has worked as a digital media generalist in the areas of visual effects (for feature film and television) and web application development. He has multiple years of experience of working and studying abroad visiting the USA, Thailand, France, Canada, and England and has been awarded with long-term fellowships by the ASEM-DUO program and the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS).