HCI 445 User Research Methods

Oliver Alonzo

Office: CDM 703
Fall 2023-2024
Class number: 16879
Section number: 711
OLASY NCH00 Online Campus


HCI 445 aims to provide students with the foundational skills necessary to conductanalyze and communicate user research. The topics we discuss include:

  • Common methods for collecting user data (e.g., observation, interviewing, surveys*)
  • Analysis techniques to examine user research data
  • Ways to document and communicate user research findings.

* Note that after a recent re-design of this course, we now briefly discuss surveys, but we will no longer be designing, conducting and analyzing surveys or other quantitive methods. Instead, we focus on qualitative methods such as observations and interviews. Students who are interested in the complexity of surveys are encouraged to take the new stand-alone course that focuses exclusively on surveys.

Learning Objectives

The skills I hope you will obtain in this course include:

  • Conducting common user research methods, and articulating their advantages and disadvantages
  • Selecting appropriate analysis techniques to examine data collected
  • Effectively documenting and communicating user research findings.


Textbook: Goodman, E., Kuniavsky, M., and Moed, A. (2012). Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research (2nd Edition). San Francisco, CA: Elsevier.

Software: Atlas.ti. 

  • Atlas.ti is a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) software, which we will employ for qualitative analysis in the course.
  • The student version is available for $51 for six months or $99 for two years.


The final letter grades will be assigned based on the total number of points obtained as follows:

Letter Min Max
A 93 100
A- 90 92.9
B+ 87 89.9
B 83 86.9
B- 80 82.9
C+ 77 79.9
C 73 76.9
C- 70 72.9
D+ 67 69.9
D 60 66.9
F < 59.9


HCI 440 – Introduction to User-Centered Design

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

All students are expected to abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy which prohibits cheating and other misconduct in student coursework. Publicly sharing or posting online any prior or current materials from this course (including exam questions or answers), is considered to be providing unauthorized assistance prohibited by the policy. Both students who share/post and students who access or use such materials are considered to be cheating under the Policy and will be subject to sanctions for violations of Academic Integrity.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296