Summer 2013 Research with Janet Davis:
This document provides an overview of my project with students in
summer 2013 and my expectations of those students.
Persuasive Technology for Wellness
My main research area is human-computer interaction. My recent work
is concerned with the application of design methods attention to
design and value sensitive design--to the area of persuasive technology.
technology systems are intended to change behaviors and
example, the Google PowerMeter service is intended to provide
households with feedback on their electricity consumption, so they can
take steps to reduce it. As another example, the Nintendo WiiFit
Plus game not only provides feedback on the user's weight, balance, and
mental acuity, but also encourages the user to set fitness goals,
teaches users how to do exercises, makes it easy to do a set routine,
and praises the user for playing regularly and for performing well.
Although the examples I've given are commercial
systems, persuasive technology is an active research area with
roots in both interaction design and behavioral psychology.
novelty of my work is in the adaptation of design methods that draw
attention to ethical issues to the design of persuasive technology. We
will apply one (or possibly both!) of the following approaches to our
design casts end users and
other stakeholders in the role of full partners in the design process.
Such participation may take the form of workshops, games, storytelling,
roleplaying, discussions, building low-tech mock-ups, and revising
prototype systems. Because it involves users in key decisions
throughout the design process, I believe that participatory design will
be a valuable approach for ensuring that new persuasive technology
respects the user's welfare and autonomy: that is, that the technology
will help users change their behavior in ways that are good for them
and that they want for themselves.
Value sensitive design is an
approach to proactively accounting for human values throughout the
design process. Value sensitive design methodology involves three
different types of investigations: Conceptual investigations are
"armchair studies" that seek to identify key stakeholders and values at
stake, understand values thoroughly, and reveal tensions between
values. Empirical investigations focus on people, their values, and
their response to the technology. Technical investigations concern the
design of the technology itself. Value sensitive design contrasts with
participatory design in that it emphasizes attention to indirect
stakeholders--those who may not use the technology but are affected by
its use--over direct participation by future users.
Before applying, you should read the following papers, which discuss
my prior work in this area.
- Janet Davis. Design
Methods for Ethical Persuasive Technology. In Proceedings of the Fourth International
Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2009), Claremont, CA,
April 28-30, 2009.
- Timothy M. Miller, Patrick Rich, and Janet Davis. ADAPT: Audience Design of Ambient Persuasive
Technology. In Extended Abstracts of the 27th
International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
(CHI 2009), Boston, MA, April 2009.
- Janet Davis. Early Experiences with Participation in
Persuasive Technology Design. In Proceedings of the 12th
Participatory Design Conference: Research Papers - Volume 1 (PDC 2012),
Roskilde, Denmark, August 12-16, 2012. [local PDF]
Although not required, it is helpful if you have experience with
object-oriented design (CSC 207), software
design (CSC 323/325), value sensitive design (CSC 295), visual design (e.g., art), or work with human
subjects (e.g., psychology or anthropology).
A team of students will develop
persuasive technology applications to promote wellness at Grinnell. The application you develop might do one of the following:
rest breaks while working at computers. While computer programs already
exist to serve this purpose, a Grinnell-specific app would mesh with
wellness programming at Grinnell, such as expansion of a popular chair
yoga class taught by Monica St. Angelo, and would allow users to
personalize their choices of rest activities.
“Nudge” G-Licious users towards healthy options at the dining hall.
Promote the use of
faculty/staff wellness benefits through personalized reminders and
and staff to walk or bicycle to work (while not penalizing faculty and
staff who must drive).
Grinnell's culture of “busy-ness.”
Once a team has been formed, we will
work together with Jen Jacobsen, Campus Wellness Coordinator, to
identify a design goal that meets a need at Grinnell and suits the
team's interests and expertise.
Much of this schedule follows the official divisional schedule for
summer research. I will certainly understand if a student accepts a
position with me and later chooses to take a more attractive position
elsewhere. In that case, I will notify students on my waiting list.
- Friday, Feb. 22: Application forms due. You must submit the
division form online and your responses to my application form via email to me.
- Friday, Mar. 8: Initial selections announced.
- Friday, Mar. 15: Deadline for accepting or rejecting the offer.
- Week of Apr. 1: First meeting.
- Additional spring meetings.
- Monday, May 6: Part A of MAP applications due.
- Monday, May 19: Commencement. Summer research begins (tentative).
- Monday, June 3: Part B of MAP applications due.
- Monday, July 29: Summer research concludes (tentative).
- Around November 15: Submission deadline for PERSUASIVE 2014
- Around January 10, 2014: Submission deadline for CHI 2014
I have high expectations of my summer
research students. I will expect my summer students to begin their work
in the spring and continue it into the fall (and perhaps beyond). By
applying for summer research you are agreeing to meet these
expectations. You are unlikely to receive explicit credit or
compensation for work in the spring and fall (with one exception
Students will work in teams of two or four. We will meet most days during
the summer and several times before the summer begins.
- Topic preparation
- You will be expected to begin
your background research during the
spring. In particular, you must review papers I have cited and
identify at least four additional papers on
related projects. Sources to consider include the ACM Digial Library
(particularly proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI conference),
proceedings of the Pervasive Computing conference, and proceedings of
the Participatory Design Conference. You are
also encouraged to use the Web and, once you've identified potentially
useful resources, to consult with the librarians about using Science
- Skill preparation
- If your project will require a programming language,
data language, toolkit, or application that you do not yet know, you
are expected to begin
studying it. You need not master it, but should begin to develop some
During the summer, you are expected to work full time on the project:
40-50 hours per week for ten weeks. This work will include scheduled
daily group meetings and collaborative work time (e.g., pair
programming or team design sessions). Working with stakeholders may
require occasional evening or weekend work, depending on their
availability. In short, your schedule will be flexible, but not
- Topic preparation
- For the first week or so of summer research, you will continue
preparation from the spring, developing a survey of "the state of the
art" in whatever project you've decided to undertake. You should
prepare a short survey paper. On the first day of the second week,
you'll give a public presentation of your work.
- Core research
- For the next eight weeks of the summer, you will work on your
project, using what you've learned during preparation for guidance.
Some of this time may be spent continuing to develop skills and
investigating further literature as needed.
- For the last week of the summer (and, preferably, as you do your
work), you will write a five-to-ten page paper describing your
work and placing it in the context of related work. Your paper should
meet the highest standards of writing at Grinnell. Students working as
part of a group need prepare only one paper. You may be
required to submit a version of this paper to a conference or journal.
(I may provide significant assistance in developing
the submitted version, in which case I will be listed as a co-author.)
Fall and Beyond
- Poster presentation
- You will create a poster describing your work and present it at
the Grinnell Science Poster Seminar (typically during Parents' Weekend).
- Internal public presentation
- You will give a 25- to 50-minute presentation on your work as
part of the Thursday Extras colloquium series.
- External conference presentation
will expect you to contribute to a research paper for submission to a
conference (probably PERSUASIVE 2014 or CHI 2014). If the work is
there is funding available, you will be expected to
attend and help present your work.
- Evaluation studies
your project involves evaluation of a system designed and implemented
during the summer, and this evaluation cannot take place during
the summer (e.g., because it will require students' presence on
campus), then I may encourage you to register for an additional 2
credit MAP for the fall semester. You will be expected to help plan the
study during the summer, carry out data collection in the fall,
contribute to data analysis, and report on the study method and
Janet Davis (email@example.com)
Created February 3, 2010
Last modified February 1, 2013
With thanks to Sam Rebelsky: http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Department/samr-summer-2007.html