This is an OLD version of the course. Please go to the 2019 version!

Literature Review for
05-773A3: Computer Science Perspectives in HCI,
(CS Mini), Spring, 2017, Mini 3

Literature Review

05-773A3: Computer Science Perspectives in HCI,
(CS Mini), Spring, 2017, Mini 3
Literature Review 
Topic selection due: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, 10:30am
Abstract and Preliminary Reference List due Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, 10:30am
Final Review Due Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:30am

Late policy: 20 points off out of 100 per day. That is, on the first day, it will be 20 points off; on the second day, it will be 40 points off, etc. That is, for something due on a Tuesday, at 10:31am on Tuesday, it will be 20 points off. At 10:31 on Wednesday, it will be 40 points off, etc.

This description is by Scott Hudson, Jen Mankoff, and Brad Myers

The Assignment

For this assignment you will complete a literature review on a topic related to technical HCI and approved by the instructor. 

By Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, 10:30am, you need to have entered your topic on this GoogleDoc. (But see below for details about topics.) Note that everyone should choose a different topic. Feel free to discuss potential topics with the instructor prior to that.

By Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, 10:30am, you need to turn in a preliminary abstract (about 1 page) and reference list (no page limit).  Please upload your abstract to Blackboard. Acceptable file formats are Microsoft Word or PDF. Be sure the filename starts with your last name, like: Myers-Brad-LitReviewAbstract.pdf. Please also turn in a hardcopy in class.

The final literature review is due Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:30am. Please upload this to Blackboard as well, and use the same naming conventions.

The length of your report should be approximately between 8-15 pages in length (body text, not including the list of references) in Times New Roman 12 point font double spaced, or equivalent. Having figures and pictures are a good idea, but they do not count as part of your page count. As a general guideline, most papers from previous years were about 8 to 10 papers, and had about 15 to 30 total references (with the other references being used for background). Remember that good writing and grammar count.

About Literature Reviews

A literature review has much in common with a summary, but it takes a broader view. A literature review generally takes some sort of perspective and then draws connections between a set of papers and that perspective, using them to illustrate and deepen one's understanding of the perspective. In other words, it is important that you tell a story in your literature review, rather than simply listing a long list of papers. Papers may contribute through enhancing theory, demonstrating applications, and so on. Often the writer will argue that there is a gap or a need of some sort that is not filled by the literature, alternatively, the contribution of the literature survey may be a new way of framing and/or organizing the knowledge about this topic.

Your review should relate to a topic covered in class and approved by the instructor. Keep in mind that a topic area (e.g., end user programming) is not specific enough, you need to pick a topic (e.g., "End user programming for finding information in educational contexts", or "pitfalls and successes in evaluating end user programming systems" and so on).  In other words, yes, it is appropriate to focus on a subset of an area, and in fact I want you to focus on an aspect of this that is relevant to your own interests/research.

In writing up your review, you should aim to answer the following questions about your topic: What is the motivation for the topic?  What are the gaps that make it an important area to work in? What do the articles that you review contribute to our understanding of the topic? What is the current state of knowledge about the topic? What conclusions can be drawn from the research to date? What have the papers you reviewed contributed to our understanding of this topic? What are the next important questions that need to be answered? 

If you are discovery oriented, you should comment on what empirical questions might need to be answered for work in this area to move forward. If you are invention oriented, you should comment on what innovations are necessary for this area to move forward.

Some secondary benefits of literature surveys

This kind of process is an important form of networking, background research for a PhD thesis, and generally benefits research. Once you've done this, you know who to try to meet at conferences, where to look for possible new work, and when you want to, say, sponsor a workshop on a topic, or find a summer internship, you've got the right contacts/people to invite. And it helps you to see where your own work fits in and how it is different. Always think about papers from this perspective as you read them. 

There are an increasing number of places to actually get a publication out of literature reviews. They have always been accepted in ACM Computing Surveys, for example Caitlin Kelleher's, sometimes even in CHI, and there is a new publication that is "specialized for comprehensive survey articles in HCI" called Foundations and Trends in HCI.

Additional Resources on How to Write a Literature Review

Webster, J. and Watson, R.T. (2002) Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review. MIS Quarterly, 26(2).

Rapple, B. (2011) Writing a Literature Review, Web page.

Turabian, Kate L. (2007) A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 7th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  (See Chapters 3 and 4 on “Finding Useful Sources” and “Engaging Sources”).

Baumeister, R. F. (2003). Writing a literature review. In M. J. Prinstein & M. Patterson (Eds.), The portable mentor expert guide to a successful career in Psychology (pp. 57-71). New York: Kluwer.

Two example research reviews are available on the class BlackBoard site in "Course Content":