Disciplines/fields: Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology, Human Subject Research, Experimental Research, Cognitive Science

Duration: 4 sessions

Course Content

The Science Jam will deliver a crash course in human subject research by encouraging the swift exploration of new research ideas and hands-on learning of research methods and procedures with research questions around the suggested topic of “Cognitive and Behavioral Transitions and Transformations in High Intensity Social Groups”. Mirroring the concept of “hackatons” and “game jams”, we are going to prototype pre-studies, execute initial trial runs together with a rough analysis, and summarize first outcomes as a presentation or poster. The course discusses the limitations of human subject research 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 “jam-style” prototyping. A general introduction to 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 human subject research. Limitations and challenges of human subject research along practical examples. Groups present research concepts.
Practical part: Peer ethics review. Study preparation and implementation. 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. 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 human subject research in different research areas.
Practical part: Last improvements regarding analysis, results, and presentation. Possibly prepare a public presentation for the other attendees of IK’16.


Participants will gain a broad overview of human subject research and make hands-on experiences. 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. We expect a broad selection of rather entertaining micro-research topics to emerge from this course.


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Jan Smeddinck is a doctoral candidate at the Research Group Digital Media of the TZI Center for Computing and Communication Technologies and a member of the Graduate School Advances in Digital Media, both at the University of Bremen in Germany. Building on his background in interaction design, serious games 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 “Adaptability and Adaptivity of Full-body Motion-based Games for Health for Heterogeneous Target Groups” 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).

Susan Wache has a long background in human experimental research. After her Bachelor in Biology she completed a Master in Cognitive Science in Osnabrück and Trento (Italy) and started her PhD in the Neurobiopsychology group at the University of Osnabrück. During her studies she focused on fMRI studies investigating different aspects of spatial cognition but also fostered further skills in teaching and in organisation as member of different committees. She expedited the formation of a Spinoff from her research project that develops a tactile navigation belt for blind people. In November 2015 she founded the company feelSpace together with two colleagues where she currently acts as the CMO.