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David Unsworth <[log in to unmask]>
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David Unsworth <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Feb 2005 08:49:41 +0000
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This brings us back to an old thread about "what they say and what they 
do." Those with long memories may recall the disparity found between 
espoused and real behaviour discussed at that time. My principle point 
of reference was (and remains)

Nisbett, R.E., Wilson, T.D. (1977) ‘Telling More Than We Can Know: 
Verbal Reports on

Mental Processes’,* */Psychological Review, /Vol.84, No.3, May 1977, pp. 

Hence the move from lab testing a la Card & Moran to more ethnographic 
models. In my organisation we moved to a far more ethnographic model 
following the chapters in Coolican on the failur of lab tyesting in 
behavioural research. As for questionnaires, if you can't trust them 
(and speaking personally, I can't) then don't use them.

We uise observers who get involved in the experiment with the users and 
try afterwards to comment on which areas their user had trouble with.

The downside of ethnographic research is you can't generalise, but then 
generalisations based on questionnaires are notoriously unreliable 
anyway, in particular when concerning cognitive processes.

For more info on the Nisbett & Wilson paper, a description can be found 
in Cialdini's "Influence".

David Unsworth
Director of eCommerce
Saga Group Ltd

Nick Quinn wrote:

> "Objectivity" appears to be the justification for HCI/CHI user tests,
> trials and focus groups, but this guy raises real doubts about asking
> someone their opinion 
> <>.

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