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The Past, Present, and Future of UX Empirical Research


Robinson, J. , Lanius, C., and Weber, R. (2017). The Past, Present, and Future of UX Research. Communication Design Quarterly, (5)3.


Rethinking UX requires mapping trends in empirical research to find out how the field has developed. This study addresses that need by analyzing over 400 academic empirical studies published between 2000-2016. Our research questions are, “How have the artifacts, analysis, and methods of UX research changed since the year 2000?” and “Do scholars use research questions and hypotheses to ground their research in UX?” Our research found that services,
websites, and imagined objects/prototypes were among the most frequently studied artifacts, while usability studies, surveys, and interviews were the most commonly used methods. We found a significant increase in quantitative and mixed methods studies since 2010. This study showed that only 1 out of every 5 publications employed research questions to guide inquiry. We hope that these findings help UX as a field more accurately and broadly conceive of its identity with clear standards for evaluating existing research and rethinking future research opportunities as a discipline.

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