Catalogue of Modules, University of Nottingham

G54MET Methods for Understanding Users in Computer Science
(Last Updated:03 May 2017)

Year  11/12

Total Credits: 10

Level: Level 4

Target Students:  MSc and Part III undergraduate students only in the School of Computer Science and students enrolled for higher research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD). Also available to students from other Schools with the agreement of the module convenor.  Available to JYA/Erasmus students.

Taught Semesters:

Spring Assessed by end of Spring Semester 

Prerequisites: Or equivalent knowledge of human-computer interaction, for example G52HCI or G64IHF up to 2009/10

Corequisites:  None.

Summary of Content:  

This module is part of the Human-Computer Interaction theme in the School of Computer Science.

This module aims to give students a practical grounding in methods for understanding users in computer science and the uses of these methods in design. The course will address both quantitative and qualitative methods, and user modeling techniques. Methods include fieldwork, interviews, questionnaires, scenario-based design, storyboards, personas, experiments, cognitive walkthroughs, action research and prototyping. Critical thinking, reflection and comparison of the relative merits of different techniques will be encouraged throughout the course.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber Of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks2 per week1 hour

Activities may take place every teaching week of the Semester or only in specified weeks. It is usually specified above if an activity only takes place in some weeks of a Semester

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Exam 1 100 Resit examination only 
Coursework 1 100 8500 word group report describing a) the use of fieldwork method to study a common class of software application; b) the use of a different method to study the same class of application; c) compare and contrast methods used and results d) Peer assessment 

Professor A Crabtree

Education Aims:  The aim of this course is to enhance studentsí repertoire of user research skills, providing a deeper knowledge of user research methodologies as they relate to the practice of computer science and IT development, and a critical reflection on the underlying benefits and limitations of various methodological approaches.

Learning Outcomes:  
Knowledge and Understanding: A deeper understanding of distinctions between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. * A deeper understanding of the practicalities of various methodologies for user research in computer science. * A critical awareness of the relative merits of different methodological approaches.

Intellectual Skills:Ability to critique various methodological approaches. * An understanding of how to evaluate user research.

Professional Skills: Practical experience in an extensive variety of user research methodologies, used in academia and industry.

Transferable Skills: Team work. * Report writing. * Essay writing. * Critical reflection. * Library research skills.

Offering School:  Computer Science

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