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Into the wild: challenges and opportunities for field trial methods

Brown, Barry; Reeves, Stuart; Sherwood, Scott


Barry Brown

Scott Sherwood


Field trials of experimental systems `in the wild' have developed into a standard method within HCI - testing new systems with groups of users in relatively unconstrained settings outside of the laboratory. In this paper we discuss methodological challenges in running user trials. Using a `trial of trials' we examined the practices of investigators and participants - documenting `demand characteristics', where users adjust their behaviour to fit the expectations of those running the trial, the interdependence of how trials are run and the result they produce, and how trial results can be dependent on the insights of a subset of trial participants. We develop three strategies that researchers can use to leverage these challenges to run better trials.


Brown, B., Reeves, S., & Sherwood, S. (2011). Into the wild: challenges and opportunities for field trial methods

Conference Name CHI'11 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
End Date May 12, 2011
Publication Date May 1, 2011
Deposit Date May 26, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Published in: CHI'11 : proceedings of SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, 2011, ISBN 9781450302289, pp. 3480.
doi: 10.1145/1978942.1979185


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