Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads?: Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch

    Abstract

    One of the basic usability testing techniques the HCI community draws on, and which stands out as unique, is thinking aloud. We introduce the many names, uses and modifications of the classical think aloud technique, and ask the rhetorical question: What do researchers think they get when they ask people to think aloud? We answer it by discussing the classical work of Ericsson and Simon(1984), in particular their distinction between vocalisation, verbalisation and retrospective reports and the relation to short term memory. Reintroducing the psychological perspective and the focus on higher order cognitive processes, we argue that access to subjective experience is possible in terms of introspection and describe a technique that invites the user to become a participant in the analysis of his or her own cognitive processes. We suggest that use of think aloud has as a prerequisite explicit descriptions of design, test procedure and framework for analysis. We point out, however, that if the aim is to get access to human thinking, HCI research may benefit from experimental research.
    One of the basic usability testing techniques the HCI community draws on, and which stands out as unique, is thinking aloud. We introduce the many names, uses and modifications of the classical think aloud technique, and ask the rhetorical question: What do researchers think they get when they ask people to think aloud? We answer it by discussing the classical work of Ericsson and Simon(1984), in particular their distinction between vocalisation, verbalisation and retrospective reports and the relation to short term memory. Reintroducing the psychological perspective and the focus on higher order cognitive processes, we argue that access to subjective experience is possible in terms of introspection and describe a technique that invites the user to become a participant in the analysis of his or her own cognitive processes. We suggest that use of think aloud has as a prerequisite explicit descriptions of design, test procedure and framework for analysis. We point out, however, that if the aim is to get access to human thinking, HCI research may benefit from experimental research.
    LanguageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus
    EditorsOlav W. Bertelsen, Susanne Bødker, Kari Kuutti
    Place of PublicationNew York, NY
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Date2002
    Pages101-110
    ISBN (Print)1581136161
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2002
    EventGetting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? -
    Duration: 30 Jun 2010 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceGetting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads?
    Period30/06/2010 → …

    Keywords

      Cite this

      Nielsen, J., Clemmensen, T., & Yssing, C. (2002). Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique. In O. W. Bertelsen, S. Bødker, & K. Kuutti (Eds.), Proceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus (pp. 101-110). New York, NY: Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: 10.1145/572020.572033
      Nielsen, Janni ; Clemmensen, Torkil ; Yssing, Carsten. / Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique. Proceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus. editor / Olav W. Bertelsen ; Susanne Bødker ; Kari Kuutti. New York, NY : Association for Computing Machinery, 2002. pp. 101-110
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      title = "Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads?: Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique",
      abstract = "One of the basic usability testing techniques the HCI community draws on, and which stands out as unique, is thinking aloud. We introduce the many names, uses and modifications of the classical think aloud technique, and ask the rhetorical question: What do researchers think they get when they ask people to think aloud? We answer it by discussing the classical work of Ericsson and Simon(1984), in particular their distinction between vocalisation, verbalisation and retrospective reports and the relation to short term memory. Reintroducing the psychological perspective and the focus on higher order cognitive processes, we argue that access to subjective experience is possible in terms of introspection and describe a technique that invites the user to become a participant in the analysis of his or her own cognitive processes. We suggest that use of think aloud has as a prerequisite explicit descriptions of design, test procedure and framework for analysis. We point out, however, that if the aim is to get access to human thinking, HCI research may benefit from experimental research.",
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      Nielsen, J, Clemmensen, T & Yssing, C 2002, Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique. in OW Bertelsen, S Bødker & K Kuutti (eds), Proceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, pp. 101-110, Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads?, 30/06/2010. DOI: 10.1145/572020.572033

      Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique. / Nielsen, Janni; Clemmensen, Torkil; Yssing, Carsten.

      Proceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus. ed. / Olav W. Bertelsen; Susanne Bødker; Kari Kuutti. New York, NY : Association for Computing Machinery, 2002. p. 101-110.

      Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch

      TY - GEN

      T1 - Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads?

      T2 - Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique

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      AU - Clemmensen,Torkil

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      PY - 2002

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      N2 - One of the basic usability testing techniques the HCI community draws on, and which stands out as unique, is thinking aloud. We introduce the many names, uses and modifications of the classical think aloud technique, and ask the rhetorical question: What do researchers think they get when they ask people to think aloud? We answer it by discussing the classical work of Ericsson and Simon(1984), in particular their distinction between vocalisation, verbalisation and retrospective reports and the relation to short term memory. Reintroducing the psychological perspective and the focus on higher order cognitive processes, we argue that access to subjective experience is possible in terms of introspection and describe a technique that invites the user to become a participant in the analysis of his or her own cognitive processes. We suggest that use of think aloud has as a prerequisite explicit descriptions of design, test procedure and framework for analysis. We point out, however, that if the aim is to get access to human thinking, HCI research may benefit from experimental research.

      AB - One of the basic usability testing techniques the HCI community draws on, and which stands out as unique, is thinking aloud. We introduce the many names, uses and modifications of the classical think aloud technique, and ask the rhetorical question: What do researchers think they get when they ask people to think aloud? We answer it by discussing the classical work of Ericsson and Simon(1984), in particular their distinction between vocalisation, verbalisation and retrospective reports and the relation to short term memory. Reintroducing the psychological perspective and the focus on higher order cognitive processes, we argue that access to subjective experience is possible in terms of introspection and describe a technique that invites the user to become a participant in the analysis of his or her own cognitive processes. We suggest that use of think aloud has as a prerequisite explicit descriptions of design, test procedure and framework for analysis. We point out, however, that if the aim is to get access to human thinking, HCI research may benefit from experimental research.

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      KW - Kognitionspsykologi

      KW - Hukommelse

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      M3 - Article in proceedings

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      Nielsen J, Clemmensen T, Yssing C. Getting Access to What Goes on in People´s Heads? Reflections on the Think-aloud Technique. In Bertelsen OW, Bødker S, Kuutti K, editors, Proceedings of NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002, ACM SIGCHI, Aarhus. New York, NY: Association for Computing Machinery. 2002. p. 101-110. Available from, DOI: 10.1145/572020.572033