The aim for writing the essay is to get you familiar with the theory of existing user-centered methods for user research, product and service design. Though, the essay is not based on writing summaries of given references but it is rather a tool for constructing your own understanding of them, their potentials and lackings, feasibility and so on. You are highly encouraged to reconsider the methods you learn, in the context of your previous experiences, either professional or ordinary ones. Having your own understanding would help you in the upcoming teamwork, as you get to apply some of the methods you got familiar while writing your essay. Therefore, submitting an essay is compulsory to be able to proceed with the course's teamwork. It also helps teams build with students from different backgrounds, especially by the level of experience, to have a common starting point. Moreover, it ensures going further with only the students who are willing to put the effort into the essay and thus, creating a hopefully more fair atmosphere within the teams.
Study the given materials. Also search for and study one additional research paper (conference or journal) on user research within the last 5 years, and explain how it relates to the other materials. Based on all the articles, write an essay presenting the basic concepts and the methods, also analysing the applicability, and pros and cons of the methods. Going through the articles one by one makes a poor essay, so think of a good way to structure your essay. One possibility is to consider the feasibility of the methods in relation to your own previous projects.
The essay should be 7 - 11 pages including cover page and references using the Taylor&Francis HCI Commentary template. See Style Guidelines for HCI for further reference. May use this Word templateWord template v2 with caution. LaTeX people, you're on your own, see T&F HCI guides.
Note: Cover page will only have the course code and the title of your essay. No names or student numbers!
Return your ANONYMOUS essay to MyCourses for peer-reviewing. The cover page, title or file name nor the contents must not reveal your identity so the peer-review will remain double blind.
Writing a Good Essay
Writing a good essay based on scientific material can be learned:
Start by reading the material and making notes (in your own words) of the general ideas stated by the material. Also note specific information that might be of interest later.
Plan the structure of your essay before writing it. Think about how you can combine the ideas presented in the material related to the topic of the essay into a coherent text that has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Make a synthesis of the material and also include your own thoughts. Do not just summarise the material one after another.
Write in your own words (referencing properly to cite the source of information).
See for example the following web site for more detailed information: