The Dream of a Common Infrastructure: Why We Should Get Out of the Lab in the Big Data Era

Ellen Balka
DFP Classroom: FSC 2300

Ellen Balka will speak about the need to leave the lab and go out into the field and use ethnography in order to improve data quality in an era of big data. Historically, much HCI research was carried out in laboratory settings using experimental methods. And, while these methods remain important, in this talk she will suggest that they are wholly inadequate in addressing issues arising in our efforts to build large multiuser computing infrastructures to support big data applications and analysis. Using examples from 20 years of ethnographically-based field research in healthcare and related settings, she will outline a number of human computer interaction challenges which emerged through observationally based ethnographic research. The examples she draws on underscore the importance of focusing on how people work in situ – in real world organizations, carrying out real-world tasks – and also highlight a number of issues and challenges which threaten data quality, and ultimately analytic findings based on poor quality data, in an era of big data.

Event directions

Once you are inside the Forestry Science building walk to the rear (south-east) of the building by passing through the large open study area and up the stairs to the 2nd level student (“treetop”) lounge area. Turn left, pass through the double doors, and room 2300 will be immediately to your right.

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