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Introduction to Engineering Psychology


Status Archive
School Computer and Information Science (CIS)
Division CSE
Owner Kip Smith

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Course plan

A readings and lecture course

Naturalistic, quasi-experimental studies are all the rage in the applied research community. These studies are conducted in dynamic "real-world" environments with human participants. Unfortunately, relatively few researchers are able to bring a sound theoretic foundation to the design and conduct of such studies and to the analyses of the data. This course provides an introduction to theories that can ground quasi-experimental studies (and true experiments). It also drills how to read and review scientific articles, and how to write in the standard APA format.

Who should take this course

Doctoral students who need to acquire fluency in the process of conducting naturalistic quasi-experiments in dynamic environments with human participants and in presenting experimental data.

The course is new


To enable students to think and communicate clearly about naturalistic experiments with human participants. Elements to be considered include:
(1) complex dynamic environments (e.g., traffic),
(2) joint cognitive systems (e.g., vehicles with drivers),
(3) stimuli and behavior, and
(4) APA style for writing scholarly articles discussing naturalistic experiments with human participants.


Permission of the instructor


- the perceptual cycle, Neisser’s model of situated thought and action
- naturalistic quasi-experimentation (NQE)
- independent and dependent variables in NQE
- joint cognitive systems, Hollnagel’s explanandum of complex dynamic environments
- the QuALMRI structure for intelligible technical writing
- APA style (the syntax for writing journal articles)
- …


The course consists of at least three seminars, three texts, six concise written assignments, and a course paper.


American Psychological Association. APA style manual, 5th Edition.
Chapter Focus on Pages
1 15 - 27
2 to 61
3 111 - 124
5 all

Neisser, U. (1976). Cognition and Reality.
Chapters 1 - 6.

Hollnagel, E. and Woods, D. (2005). Joint Cognitive Systems.

Seminar leader / examiner

Kip Smith
Gästprofessor, CSE Lab / IDA

Ph.D. Management, U. Minnesota
M.S. Geophysics, U. New Mexico


Seminars will be held in February and early March 2008.
Dates will be determined later.

To attain 4.5 HEC (hp)

a) Students are expected to participate actively in the discussion seminars. All discussion will be in English.
b) Students will use the QuALMRI structure to write six short reviews (± 2 pages, one per week) of scholarly articles in the recent literature that discuss experiments that pertain to their field of study. These must be submitted to the course leader electronically for feedback.

To attain 7,5 HEC (hp)

c) In addition to (a) and (b), students will write an individual course paper in the format of a short scholarly article (± 10 pages) in APA style discussing a naturalistic quasi-experiment (motive, design, method, and (expected) results) of their own design.


The course paper is to be delivered to the course leader no later than 31 March 2008.

Page responsible: Director of Graduate Studies
Last updated: 2012-05-03