7

Data gathering

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Four key issues

7.3 Data recording

7.4 Interviews

7.5 Questionnaires

7.6 Observation

7.7 Choosing and combining techniques

7.1 Introduction

This chapter presents some techniques for data gathering which are commonly used in interaction design activities. In particular, data gathering is a central part of identifying needs and establishing requirements, and of evaluation.

Within the requirements activity, the purpose of data gathering is to collect sufficient, accurate, and relevant data so that a set of stable requirements can be produced. Within evaluation, data gathering is needed in order to capture users' reactions and performance with a system or prototype.

In this chapter we introduce three main techniques for gathering data. (Some additional techniques relevant only to evaluation are discussed in Chapters 1215.) In the next chapter we discuss how to analyze and interpret the data collected. These three techniques are interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Interviews involve an interviewer asking one or more interviewees a set of questions which may be highly structured or unstructured; interviews are usually synchronous and are often face-to-face, but they don't have to be. Questionnaires are a series of questions designed to be answered asynchronously, i.e. without the presence of the investigator; these may be on paper, or online. Observation may be direct or indirect. Direct observation involves spending time with individuals ...

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