CS 569, Fall 2014, Dr. Burnett
Homework #3: Collecting case study data through observing (Team)

Case study data often involves observations of users, and that will be the case in this class. To succeed at observing, you need first, to have a clear picture of what your case study design is, and second, good observation skills/techniques. This homework will give you practice with these aspects.

Important note: For this HW, the only kind of observation I want you to do is of people doing whatever they are doing in public places. Do not interview them or interact with them (unless they approach you and ask what you're doing). Just sit quietly and observe and take notes. (No tape recording or videos.)

You will need to understand the readings/lectures through Week 4 to answer these questions, especially those in Week 4.

In-class part (in teams)

This is a "throw-away" practice for early parts of a case study.

  1. (In class) What type of case study do you want to (pretend to) do: exploratory, descriptive or explanatory
  2. (In class) Refine the above vague research question into 1-3 RQs suitable for this case study.
  3. Enumerate (a) your units of analysis and (b) what data you need to collect. You must collect some from observations; you can "pretend" to collect data that comes from non-observational sources too, but the only data you'll really collect will be from observing humans. (Hint: A way to get started on figuring out units of analysis and data is to think about what the answers to Questions 1-3 establish about the unit of analysis, and about what type of data to gather.)
  4. What type of design are you using, according to the terminology in the book (eg, single holistic, or what?)

Out-of-class part (in teams) -- should take a total of about 2 hours

  1. Collect data by observing in public place(s) for, say, 30-45 minutes. You don't have to analyze it -- just collect it and turn it in (and keep a copy). Also include the list of whatever other data you "pretended" to collect. To clarify, you are to turn in your case study database of evidence.
  2. Comment where possible upon the 4 validity attributes of what you did in this assignment, i.e., your design and data collection process: construct validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliability.

What to turn in: Turn in **hard copy** of your answers to all 6 questions. Be sure all teammates' names are on it.

When to turn it in: see class schedule for the due date.