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Analysing user-algorithm interaction

Supervisor

Suitable for

MSc in Computer Science

Abstract

"Members of the Human Centred Computing Group are currently involved in the UnBias research project ( http://unbias.wp.horizon.ac.uk/). This investigates the user experience of algorithm-driven internet platforms. As part of this project we have been conducting observational data collection in which pairs of volunteers are video recorded whilst browsing online. The on screen activity is also captured and the data are being analysed to identify instances of user-algorithm interaction; in particular instances in which an algorithmic outcome – such as the auto complete suggestion in a search bar or the filtering mechanisms on a recommendation platform – might shape the trajectory of browsing activity. We will shortly undertake a second wave of data collection in which users browse online but are placed in situations in which their usual experience of certain algorithmic processes will be disrupted.

We are looking for a student to conduct analysis on the collected data and to then build on this analysis by designing and conducting their own disruption experiment. The student can set their own specific research questions for the analysis, and determine what particular kind of methodological approach they would like to undertake.

:There are no prerequisites. The study will suit a student interested in developing  skills in social research methods and human computer interaction approaches. We will assist in securing ethical clearance and recruiting research participants for the data collection activities.