Course Overview

CHI 2014, One of a CHInd, Toronto, ON, Canada

Designing Unbiased Surveys for HCI Research Hendrik Müller


Google, Inc.

Surveys are a commonly used method within HCI research. While it initially appears easy and inexpensive to conduct surveys, overlooking key considerations in questionnaire design and the survey research process can yield skewed, biased, or entirely invalid survey results. Fortunately decades of academic research and analysis exist on optimizing the validity and reliability of survey data, from which this course will draw. To enable the creation of unbiased surveys, this course demonstrates questionnaire design biases and pitfalls, provides best practices for minimizing these, and reviews different uses of surveys within HCI.

5/48 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009, Australia [email protected] Aaron Sedley Google, Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94041, USA [email protected] Elizabeth Ferrall-Nunge Twitter, Inc. 1355 Market Street Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94103 USA [email protected]

Author Keywords Surveys; User Experience; Research Methodology; Questionnaire Design; Questionnaire Biases

ACM Classification Keywords Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored. For all other uses, contact the Owner/Author. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). CHI 2014, Apr 26 - May 01 2014, Toronto, ON, Canada ACM 978-1-4503-2474-8/14/04.

H.5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): Miscellaneous.

Course description Attendees to this course will gain a practical understanding of high-quality questionnaire design and the potential negative consequences of lower-quality surveys. The course will demonstrate common questionnaire biases and pitfalls while providing best


Course Overview

CHI 2014, One of a CHInd, Toronto, ON, Canada

practices on how to minimize such biases [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This course also discusses the role of survey research within HCI by highlighting common applications and by examining frequently used standardized questionnaires measure usability and other aspects within HCI. The course will combine lecture material with relevant real-world examples; however, a major portion of the course will be dedicated to a group activity during which attendees will apply the learned material to reviewing and revising example survey questions. Attendees will come from a variety of roles in academia and industry, either new to surveys or somewhat experienced but interested in the latest advances, with a common goal of creating unbiased and actionable surveys themselves; however, no formal prerequisites are required.

bachelor's degree in Government from Wesleyan University in 1995. Elizabeth Ferrall-Nunge is a user research lead at Twitter, Inc. in San Francisco, where she manages research for Revenue. Previously, she was at Google, where she worked on several different product areas, including Local +Pages for Businesses, Local Business Center, Google Maps Mobile, My Maps, and Reviews. Elizabeth received her bachelor's degree in HumanComputer Interaction and Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank Jon Krosnick and Mick Couper for providing a wealth of methodological information and guidance, and Robin Jeffries and Ed Chi for their input and encouragement.

Instructor backgrounds


Hendrik Müller (Mueller) is a senior user experience researcher at Google, Inc. currently in Sydney, Australia. He leads user research for Google Drive, supports Google Docs, and previously worked on Google Health and several other products. Hendrik received his master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA, in 2007.

[2] Krosnick, J. A., & Presser, S. (2010). Question and questionnaire design. In P. V. Marsden & J. D. Wright (eds.), Handbook of survey research (pp. 263-314). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Aaron Sedley is a senior user experience researcher at Google, Inc. in Mountain View, focused on tracking and analyzing user attitudes via surveys. He currently leads survey research within Search. Prior to joining Google in 2003, Aaron held research positions with New York Times Digital, Young & Rubicam, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He earned a

[1] Couper, M. (2008). Designing effective Web surveys. Cambridge University Press.

[3] Müller, H., Sedley, A., & Ferrall-Nunge, E. (2014). Survey Research in HCI. In J. Olson & W. Kellogg (Eds.), Ways of Knowing in HCI Research. New York: Springer [4] Smith, D. H. (1967). Correcting for social desirability response sets in opinion-attitude survey research. Public Opinion Quarterly, 87-94. [5] Tourangeau, R. (1984). Cognitive science and survey methods. Cognitive aspects of survey methodology: Building a bridge between disciplines, 73-100. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


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