I have been involved many times in experimentations which required human subjects. That’s recurrent for each HCI researcher. As I have been working both in the States and mainly in Europe I also noticed great differences in the practices around these experiments: while in the States there are lots of protocols in place, in Europe things are a bit more, … hum …, fuzzy!
EPFL, for instance does not have proper guidelines. Probably because our lab pioneered HCI research into this technical school with no tradition around these themes. I like the American way, in this regard, and I would love to have some more “structure” around these experiments.
To start off the discussion I think is important to have a proper Consent Form whenever we host an experiment involving humans. Each participants should be made aware of the following:
1. The purpose of the experiment;
2. The aim and procedure of the experiment;
3. The risks related to the execution of the task;
4. The time required;
5. The conditions of participation and withdrawal;
6. The benefits obtained in participating;
7. The confidentiality of the results;
8. How and where the results will be published;
9. The person/lab responsible for the experiment.