I have had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Carl Gutwin from the University of Saskatchewan for this course (Carl has been papers chair of CHI in the past and has an incredible amount of experience in writing for SIGCHI conferences). Having worked with Carl at the University of Saskatchewan before, I knew that he was going to have some excellent advice for new CHI writers. In fact, it was Carl who taught me the first CHI writing course when I was a postdoc, and he is one of those people that when you are in doubt of whether you are writing right, you should just ask yourself: What would Carl have written? In the following, I have tried to distill the interview down to some of the most important takeaways. I hope you find all of this information useful and will enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Everything that we do as researchers is based on what we write. Especially for graduate students and young researchers, it is hard to turn a research project into a successful CHI publication. This struggle continues for postdocs and young professors trying to provide excellent reviews for the CHI community that pinpoint flaws and improvements in research papers. This course provides hands-on advice on how to write papers with clarity, substance, and style and how to structure reviews that are helpful and focused on enhancing someone’s research.
Writing and reviewing papers is at the heart of our craft as CHI researchers. Yet, good writing sometimes seems ephemeral to us when trying to structure our research ideas around what we perceive as the demands of the CHI community. In addition, we are quick to complain about bad reviews, but often lack the training and sometimes the information to create excellent reviews ourselves. While some helpful work exists online with lots of writing and research structure advice for CHI authors, it has unfortunately not been synthesised into a course format.
Students will learn the practical writing skills that enable them to “trim the fat” in their writing and focus on bringing the essential information across in this course. They will also work through exercises that show them how to structure their CHI paper around a research narrative to solve the main problem and outline a strong contribution using exploratory learning.