Talk title: “Yikes, conducting that interview was stressful!” Dealing with uncooperative participants in user studies.

Talk abstract: User studies are a common data collection technique in which researchers interact with users, i.e. participants in the study, to gain insight on their behaviour, experiences, and rationale. Researchers must be considerate of participants’ sentiments and comfort during the study. But uncooperative participants can cause the researcher themself to feel discomfort. With no protocol to follow for how to navigate such situations, this calls for a much-needed discussion about the mental health of researchers when interacting with participants. Based on my experiences of conducting three types of user studies, I will share how I am learning to recognize and handle microaggressions from participants.


Speaker bio:

Deeksha Arya is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science, supervised by Prof. Jin Guo and Prof. Martin Robillard in the Software Technology Lab at McGill University. She is interested in the human aspect of creating and identifying relevant software documentation. Her work involves investigating how programmers can be supported in their search as they navigate the complex software documentation landscape to find resources pertinent to their needs.

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