Double Binds and Double Blinds: Evaluation Tactics in Critically Oriented HCI


Khovanskaya, V., Baumer, E.P.S., and Sengers, P. (2015). Double Binds and Double Blinds: Evaluation Tactics in Critically Oriented HCI. in Proceedings of the Fifth Decennial Aarhus Conference on Critical Computing. Aarhus, Denmark.


Critically oriented researchers within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) have fruitfully intersected design and critical analysis to engage users and designers in reflection on underlying values, assumptions and dominant practices in technology. To successfully integrate this work within the HCI community, critically oriented researchers have tactically engaged with dominant practices within HCI in the design and evaluation of their work. This paper draws attention to the ways that tactical engagement with aspects of HCI evaluation methodology shapes and bears consequences for critically oriented research. We reflect on three of our own experiences evaluating critically oriented designs and trace challenges that we faced to the ways that sensibilities about generalizable knowledge are manifested in HCI evaluation methodology. Drawing from our own experiences, as well as other influential critically oriented design projects in HCI, we articulate some of the trade-offs involved in consciously adopting or not adopting certain normative aspects of HCI evaluation. We argue that some forms of this engagement can hamstring researchers from pursuing their intended research goals and have consequences beyond specific research projects to affect the normative discourse in the field as a whole.


Reflective Informatics: Conceptual Dimensions for Designing Technologies of Reflection


Baumer, E.P.S. (2015). Reflective Informatics: Conceptual Dimensions for Designing Technologies of Reflection. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (pp. 585–594). Seoul, South Korea.


Despite demonstrated interest in designing for reflection, relatively little work provides a detailed explication of what exactly is meant by reflection or how to design around it. This paper fills that gap by reviewing and engaging with conceptual and theoretical models of reflection, organized by the disciplinary and epistemological perspectives each embodies. Synthesizing across this theoretical background, the paper identifies three dimensions of reflection: breakdown, inquiry, and transformation. Together, these dimensions serve as the foundation for reflective informatics, a conceptual approach that helps bring clarity and guidance to the discussion of designing for reflection. The paper distinguishes reflective informatics by demonstrating how it both differs from and complements existing related work. Finally, the paper provides a critically reflexive consideration of its own latent assumptions, especially about the value of reflection, and how they might impact work on designing for reflection.


Testing and Comparing Computational Approaches for Identifying the Language of Framing in Political News


Baumer, E.P.S., Elovic, E., Qin, Y., Polletta, F., & Gay, G.K. (2015). Testing and Comparing Computational Approaches for Identifying the Language of Framing in Political News. in Proceedings of the Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics – Human Language Technologies (NAACL – HLT) (pp. 1472–1482). Denver, CO.


The subconscious influence of framing on perceptions of political issues is well-document in political science and communication research. A related line of work suggests that drawing attention to framing may help reduce such framing effects by enabling frame reflection, critical examination of the framing underlying an issue. However, definite guidance on how to identify framing does not exist. This paper presents a technique for identifying frame-invoking language. The paper first describes a human subjects pilot study that explores how individuals identify framing and informs the design of our technique. The paper then describes our data collection and annotation approach. Results show that the best performing classifiers achieve performance comparable to that of human annotators, and they indicate which aspects of language most pertain to framing. Both technical and theoretical implications are discussed.

pdf (ACL)

Data Set – This includes all 75 annotated articles, as well as descriptions of the format and instructions on use.

Broadening Exposure, Questioning Opinions, and Reading Patterns with Reflext: a Computational Support for Frame Reflection


Baumer, E.P.S., Cipriani, C., Davis, M., He, G., Jeffrey-Wilensky, J., Kang, J., Lee, J., Zupnick, J., and Gay, G. (2014). Broadening Exposure, Questioning Opinions, and Reading Patterns with Reflext: a Computational Support for Frame Reflection. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 11(1), 45-63.


Vast amounts of political coverage are generated daily online. Some tools have been developed to help keep track of what is being said, but fewer efforts focus on how things are being said, i.e., how issues are framed. This article presents a study of Reflext, an interactive visualization tool that leverages computational linguistic analysis to support reflection on the framing of political issues. This system was deployed in a field study, during which the tool was used by regular readers of political news coverage during the 2012 U.S. election campaign. The results describe the tool’s support for a variety of activities related to frame reflection, how users integrated tool use with their existing reading practices, and broader issues in how participants interpreted the computational analysis and visualization. These findings contribute to our understanding of how algorithmically based interactive systems might mediate both the practical experiences of and situated interpretation of framing in political content.

DOI | pdf

Developing Computational Supports for Frame Reflection


Baumer, E.P.S., Polletta, F., Pierski, N., Celaya, C., Rosenblatt, K., and Gay, G.K. (2013). Developing Computational Supports for Frame Reflection. in Proceedings of the iConference. (Fort Worth, TX). [36% acceptance rate]


As the number and variety of sources for political information increase, it can become difficult to attend to the complexities of political issues. This difficulty lies not only in understanding what is being said, i.e. the content of an issue, but also how it is being said, i.e., the framing of the issue. This paper presents a prototype visualization tool designed to encourage attention to, and critical reflection about, the ways in which a political issue is framed. The tool visually presents linguistic analysis of documents about the issue of cap and trade. Results show that tool use interacted with participants’ prior views in affecting their ability to suggest novel framings of the issue, one potential indicator of frame reflection. Tool use also mediated participants’ exposure to different viewpoints. These findings help provide insights on how the design of tools for civic participation can help promote thoughtful, reflective political engagement.

HDL | pdf