I wrote this article summary as a demo for my KMD1001H – Theory and Methods in Knowledge Media Design graduate students at the University of Toronto.
Harrison et al. (2009) argue that there are three paradigms in human-computer interaction (HCI). Unlike the first two identified paradigms, Human Factors and Classical Cognitivism/Information Processing, the authors argue that the third paradigm, inspired by phenomenological approaches, is not as recognized. Their goal is to present all three paradigms of HCI as legitimate approaches.
Harrison et al., are adamant that the HCI paradigms they identified are not based on the Kuhnian model where earlier world views and knowledge are refuted by newer scientific perspectives (2009). Instead, the scholars argue that the three paradigms of HCI can cohabit with one another and focus on different questions about how people interact with technology (Harrison, Tatar, & Sengers, 2009).
While abandoning the Kuhnian taxonomy minimizes conflicts between supporters of the various perspectives, Harrison et al.’s description of the third perspective does not address the shift from micro-level HCI evaluations to macro-level ones. Understanding the context of human interaction with technology introduces a wider array of questions that often veers close to Feminist Technoscience and Science and Technology Studies scholarship. Lucy Suchman (2007) and Paul Dourish (2001) have addressed how phenomenology-inspired approaches can evaluate the discreet interaction of a person and an information system more effectively.
It’s important to note that this unpublished article was revamped and published with significant alterations to the authors’ position in a subsequent article titled “Making epistemological trouble: Third-paradigm HCI as successor science” (2011). In the newer version of the article which was accepted by a different journal, the authors argued for a feminist approach to understand HCI. The feminist approach roughly mirrored the phenomenological approach espoused in the earlier article.
Dourish, P. (2001). Where The Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Harrison, S., Sengers, P., & Tatar, D. (2011). Making epistemological trouble: Third-paradigm HCI as successor science. Interacting with Computers(23), 385–392.
Harrison, S., Tatar, D., & Sengers, P. (2009). The Three Paradigms of HCI. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from https://people.cs.vt.edu/~srh/Downloads/TheThreeParadigmsofHCI.pdf
Suchman, L. (2007). Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions (2nd Edition ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Hervé Saint-Louis, PhD Candidate
Faculty of Information (iSchool)
University of Toronto
September 15, 2016