Informatics 201: Fall 2014

General Description

The objective of the course is to provide an overview of research in informatics and to enable graduate students to be successful researchers.

Course Overview
Informatics 201 is a PhD level course designed to introduce you to being a successful researcher in HCI, CSCW, Ubicomp, STS, and other related Informatics disciplines. This course will provide you the tools you need to dive into research with your primary advisor. Discussion is required as well as bringing in other experiences from meeting with your advisors, working with fellow graduate students, former courses at other institutions, industrial experience, and more.

Gillian R. Hayes
Office: Donald Bren Hall, 5072
Phone: 949-824-1483
Email: gillianrh [at] ics [dot] uci [dot] edu WHEN YOU EMAIL ME:  Please please please use Inf201 in the subject line. This helps me triage. I get a couple hundred emails PER DAY!
Office Hours: By appointment, please see my online calendar. If you can’t find a slot and need me super fast, don’t be shy… email me, and lets work it out.

Required Books:

Getting What You Came For – Robert L. Peters
A PhD is Not Enough (Peter Feibelman)
Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (John Creswell)
Ways of Knowing in HCI (Judy Olson and Wendy Kellog, Editors)


Optional but highly recommended books:
Tomorrow’s Professor (Richard Reis)
Pasteur’s Quadrant (Donald E. Stokes)

Articles for class posted below


Assignments and Readings MUST be completed BEFORE the class next to which they are listed









Getting started in graduate school
  • Chapters 10-13, 21-23 from Getting What you Came For (GWYCF) [NOTE: There is a not great scan in the DropBox on EEE for this class…. use the actual book if you have it. The scan is just for those who can’t get then book yet]
  • Chapters 1 and 2 from Tomorrow’s Professor 



Framing research and understanding modern tensions with science and technology
  • Introduce yourselves online on the EEE discussion board to each other.
  • Introduce yourselves in person to Marty, Suzie, and Adriana.
  • Make your web page. Post the link on the EEE discussion board.
  • Take this test on plagiarism.
  • Put a purpose statement for one or more research projects on the EEE discussion board.  These statements can and should be short.  Please have them up by Sunday night at midnight.
  • bring your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.



Framing research and understanding modern tensions with science and technology – continued
  • Comment on THREE other students’ research project ideas on EEE.
  • First draft of a two page essay on your research plan brought PRINTED for class


Managing Yourself, Finding the people you need to help you Set up a calendar


Managing Yourself Part Two
  • First draft of previous research/personal statement brought PRINTED for class (TWO COPIES PLEASE. ONE FOR A PARTNER AND ONE FOR ME)
  • Final draft of individual research statements due to BEFORE class begins


Proposing research and asking research questions
  • Write a one page commentary on your Foundations and Trends article, including what you see as the key future research areas based on this article. Bring PRINTED to class.
  • Completed Time Diaries on EEE MessageBoard


  • Bring a copy of your survey article commentaries printed to class (you may also want to bring a second copy for yourself, as we will be discussing these thoroughly).
Pick two more major survey articles from the Foundations and Trends in HCI series, read them, write a one page commentary on the overall style of these articles, what you can learn from them specifically for each one about writing literature reviews.


Qual Methods Part One
  • You should be able to more clearly articulate your thoughts about methods, approach, and research questions from your week before. You should also plan to be able to clearly state the contributions of each of the research papers you are reading for this week.
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.
  • Final draft of previous research and personal statements due to BEFORE class begins



Qual Methods Part Two
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.
Chapters from Ways of Knowing in HCI:

  • Reading and Interpreting Ethnography (Dourish)
  • Grounded Theory (Muller)
  • Action Research (Hayes)
  • Science and Design (Gaver)


Quant Methods Part One
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.


Quant Methods Part Two
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.
  • Find a group for your group projects

From Ways of Knowing in HCI:

  • Survey Research in HCI (Muller et al)
  • Crowdsourcing in HCI Research (Egelman et al)
  • Experimental Research in HCI (Gergle and Tan)
  • Social Network Analysis (Hansen and Smith)


Quant Methods Part Three
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.

From Ways of Knowing in HCI:

  • Sensor Data Streams (Voida et al)
  • Understanding User Behavior Through Log Data Analysis (Dumais et al)


Research Ethics Guest SpeakerMixed Methods
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.
Chapter 10 (mixed-methods) in RDFrom Ways of Knowing in HCI

  • Field Deployments (Siek et al)
  • Study, Build, Repeat (Terveen et al)
  • Research through Design (Zimmerman and Forlizzi)
  • Looking Back (Russell and Chi)


Day before Thanksgiving  Go enjoy yourselves and/or meet with your group to talk through your research project


We will have a discussion about Ethics as well as start your lecture on Mixed Methods
  • Complete the IRB training ONLINE.
  • Bring a one page writeup of your thoughts on the readings in relation to the lecture Jessica gave on the Monday before Thanksgiving


Tail end of Mixed Methods lectureContributions and their connection to your Research Questions
  • Collaborative research project abstracts due to BY MIDNIGHT



Understanding and using theory
  • Don’t forget your one page reading commentary PRINTED to class.
  • Write at least three research questions for your individual work and bring them to class
  • Write a 20 word or less contributions and benefits statement about what you expect to be the contributions and benefits of your individual work.
  • Print both of these and bring them to class for discussion.
  • Be prepared to discuss the contributions and benefits of the research papers you have read this quarter.
  • You should be prepared to talk for around 3 minutes per group about your projects.
  • If you want feedback on your collaborative proposals, bring them ON PAPER to class.


Class Debrief

Finals week

Final paper due by the end of your regular exam time period

In 5,000 to 10,000 words, please include:

Introduction, Background, Related Work, Methods, Expected Outcomes
You can also inlcude a timeline and should include references. Neither will count against your word limit.
I want these through The system WILL SHUT DOWN and not allow late submissions, so be on time. Consider this practice for submitting to conference deadlines.


– Why Grad students succeed or fail:
– How to Choose an advisor:
– How to Deal with Faculty:
– PhD Comics:
– Grad school from the Faculty’s perspective:

General course information and policies

Probably the most dependable way to contact the professor is by e-mail at gillianrh AT ics… etc. Whenever you send e-mail, please make sure you include your full name on the message and Informatics 201 in the subject line, because it is sometimes difficult to decipher student mail addresses. If you don’t hear back in a couple of days, try again. I don’t view this as bugging me, it helps find things that sometimes get lost in the milieux.

The class syllabus is posted on the class Web page and will be continually updated throughout the quarter. You should make it a regular habit to consult the syllabus. (Note: Because the syllabus is constantly updated, make sure you explicitly reload the page to ensure that you are looking at the latest version of the page. )

The final grades will be calculated based on the following weighting scheme. It is possible that this weighting scheme will be adjusted as the quarter progresses. Any such changes will be announced to the class.

Class participation 40%
Homework 30%
Final paper 30%

You may not take this class pass/fail

Class participation, attendance, and good citizenship:

A good portion of the learning in this class will come from in class discussion and activities. If you do not attend class, you cannot participate, and your grade will reflect that. I expect that each student will make an effort to attend all classes and contribute to the discussion and exercises. That said, I recognize that life happens. You sometimes need to go to a doctor or a conference or a funeral or whatever. I don’t want or need to know about it. If it happens once, I get that. If it happens a lot, no amount of excuses, however valid, will make up for your lack of participation. So, don’t feel compelled to share every detail of your lives.

You will be given regular homework assignments. These are for your benefit, and it is in your absolute best interests to complete them. To ensure that you do so, they will be a hefty part of your grade. Unless otherwise specified, homework is due BEFORE class begins on the day of the class in which it is due. If you will miss class, you must turn in your homework BEFORE class begins. Homework turned in after class begins will lose 33% of the grade for each 24 hour period for 3 days.

There will be a final paper. It will be as part of a group. Groups may be no more than 3 people. More information on that as the quarter progresses.

Other Important Class Policies:

Late Assignments
You can turn in your assignments up to two days late for half-credit. Later than that, and no credit.

If you are a student with a disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) and think that you might need special assistance or a special accommodation in this class or any other class, please check out the Disability Center online or visit them in person at
100 Disability Services Center, Building 313
Irvine, CA 92697-5130

Counseling Center:
If you find that personal problems, career indecision, study and time management difficulties, etc. are adversely impacting your successful progress at UCI, please check out the Counseling Center online or in person at 203 student services 1.

Technology Requirements:
You need access to a personal computer (Mac or Windows) for major amounts of time for this course. You need Internet access for this course. You must be able to save word processing files in a .doc or .docx (Microsoft Word) or .pdf format for sharing and submitting files to the instructor. You are expected to have working knowledge and capability with your computer before entering this class.
Please submit all papers and materials (unless otherwise noted in the course schedule) through EEE/ online or in person as noted in class. NO ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY EMAIL. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Class information and announcements will be communicated through EEE and through your UCI email address. To access EEE, you will need your UCI Net ID and password. If you do not know these, please contact OIT.

Plagiarism & Cheating:
Please read and heed the following information regarding academic dishonesty. The instructor cannot and will not tolerate academic dishonesty. For more information, refer to the UCI Student Handbook. The UCI campus policy on plagiarism can also be found on the Registrar’s website, under “Academic Honesty Policy”.

In assignments that involve a partner, you will BOTH be held EQUALLY responsible for any plagiarism, regardless of who actually wrote what in the paper. So do not come to me claiming that your partner was the one who actually plagiarized. You are responsible for content with your name on it.
Everything you turn in WILL BE CHECKED FOR PLAGIARISM. The penalty for plagiarism and cheating is at a minimum to receive a 0 on the assignment and have the case reported to the Associate Dean’s office. Particularly flagrant cases may receive more severe punishment (notably failing the course).

I can not emphasize to you enough how strongly I feel about plagiarism and cheating. It will NOT be tolerated.
 If you have any questions, please come to me and ask. It is much better to ask before than to be caught after.

What is cheating?

❑ Supplying or using work or answers not your own.
❑ Providing or accepting assistance with completing assignments or examinations.
❑ Faking data or results. (particularly important as researchers!)
❑ Interfering in any way with someone else’s work.
❑ Stealing an examination or solution from the teacher.

What is plagiarism?
❑ Copying a paper from a source text without proper acknowledgment.
❑ Buying a paper from a research service or term paper mill.
❑ Turning in another student’s work with or without that student’s knowledge.
❑ Copying a paper from a source text without proper acknowledgment.
❑ Copying materials from a source text, supplying proper documentation, but leaving out quotation marks.
❑ Paraphrasing materials from a source text without appropriate documentation.
❑ Turning in a paper from a term paper website.
You should be EVER WATCHFUL about plagiarism. It can creep up in the strangest and most unexpected places, and I will be on guard at all times in search of it. In academia, the only thing we have is our ideas. If you do not respect other people’s ideas, you can not be a successful, moral, and ethical academic.

Generally, when you use ideas and/or words gathered from some other source, you will either quote that source directly or you will paraphrase or summarize that work. You MUST let the reader know which you are doing.
1. If you quote the source directly, you must
a. put quotation marks before and after that person’s words;
b. let the reader know the source by (1) putting a footnote or endnote number at the end of the quotation, or (2) putting at least the source’s name in parentheses after the quotation marks (such as when being taken from fieldwork).
2. If you paraphrase (a paraphrase is about the same length as the original, but in different words) or if you summarize (a summary is a severely shortened version of the original), you must
a. introduce the source in some manner at the beginning of the passage being paraphrased (or summarized) so that the reader can tell where your idea stops and the other person’s begins;
b. state the ideas taken from the source in your own words and your own arrangement. It is possible to plagiarize sentence patterns as well as exact words.
****A useful rule to check every time you paraphrase or summarize: if, when you are summarizing, you use more than three words in in a row from the source materials, you should think about using quotations around those words. This is not a bad thing. You want to use the quotes!
c. provide the exact source citation/reference for the ideas that you are summarizing. In formal writing, you can do this with a footnote, endnote, or other formal reference. In less formal writing, you can mark it inline or as a note at the end of your writing. Either way, make sure the reader knows where to find the source and gives proper credit to the original author.
3. You must also provide a footnote, endnote, or reference for ANY chart, graph, figure, table, summary, or other data taken directly from another source as well as anything that you state in text that comes from such a visual reference. You should also be sure to check copyright to determine whether you are even allowed to use this figure in the first place. Google and Flickr both have advanced search engines that allow you to only find images that are allowed to be used (typically with attribution through Creative Commons or another similar body).

For example, the text here on plagiarism has been generously borrowed and slightly modified from the UTC Center for Advisement and Student Success. Likewise, the course materials have been replicated over the years from Judy Olson (Time Management), Irina Shklovski (Quant methods), myself (previous versions of this course), and others who are cited on course slides. Their contributions to this course are much appreciated.