Open Source Social Research

I rely mainly on open source Software. I would use proprietary software as well but I think open source has  some advantages:

  • to be able to just install software on several computers
  • being able to share data with a team easily.
  • ease the entry: nobody is enthusiastic about trying something …
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little hack

When shopping in my local supermarket I always wondered about one thing at the checkout: The cashier was always pushing one of these separation-bars back, along the movement direction of the conveyor belt. It seemed tedious: after a few movements of the belt the separation-bar was at the belt’s …

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Brainstorming: it sucks (says science)

Brainstorming is a rather well known Method for generating ideas. The participants generate as many as possibly ideas without judging the ideas.  Since Osborn introduced it in his work »Applied Imagination« it is in use and its rather popular [1] and part of the design thinking approach [2].

But already …

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learning with videos

I love to use (and to contribute) to free educational resources. It was and is a big trend to use videos as a ›modern‹ way to get information across. There are quite a lot of these online. Since some time, you can download lectures from several (high-class) universities, later on …

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security and usability: message encryption

Recently I began to do a bit of research on security and usability in order to make it a little project for students to work on. I was well aware that the most secure system is not effective if people can't use it and that security (lets say: a very …

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from research to requirements: user need tables

There is a lot written about qualitative user studies but in my eyes there is few material out there which helps a practitioner to apply the methods. Even the more practical works depend on a large team and lots of time and resources. So the interested designer or researcher may …

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confusing: line charts for values in categories

Reading papers and reports I often see diagrams that are used to visualize values of different categories – e.g. the average hours spend for university-work per week of students of different subjects. It seems rather intuitive for me to use a bar chart: One category (e.g. subject), one value …

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Usability improvements unleashed...

Easing the interaction by using visual interface elements instead of a syntax that needs to be learned and remembered is a fairly common principle ("recognition rather than recall") It is a major step forward if the interface is (hopefully) self-explanatory instead of having to read the ***** manual – first for learning …

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