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The use of scenarios in human-computer interaction research: Turbocharging the tortoise of cumulative science.
Young, R.M. & Barnard, P.
In J.M. Carroll & P. Tanner (Eds.), Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphics Interface (pp.291-296), (CHI & GI 87 Toronto). New York: ACM.
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A scenario is an idealised but detailed description of a specific instance of human-computer interaction (HCI). A set of scenarios can be used as a "filter bank" to weed out theories whose scope is too narrow for them to apply to many real HCI situations. By helping redress the balance between generality and accuracy in theories derived from cognitive psychology, this use of scenarios (1) allows the researcher to build on empirical findings already established while avoiding the tar-pits associated with the experimental methodology, (2) enables the researcher to consider a range of phenomena in a single study, thereby directly addressing the question of the scope of the theory, and (3) ensures that the resulting theory will be applicable in HCI contexts.