Qualitative Research in HRI: A Review and Taxonomy

Abstract

The field of human–robot interaction (HRI) is young and highly inter-disciplinary, and the approaches, standards and methods proper to it are still in the process of negotiation. This paper reviews the use of qualitative methods and approaches in the HRI literature in order to contribute to the development of a foundation of approaches and methodologies for these new research areas. In total, 73 papers that use qualitative methods were systematically reviewed. The review reveals that there is widespread use of qualitative methods in HRI, but very different approaches to reporting on it, and high variance in the rigour with which the approaches are applied. We also identify the key qualitative methods used. A major contribution of this paper is a taxonomy categorizing qualitative research in HRI in two dimensions: by ’study type’ and based on the specific qualitative method used.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    ‘Observation’ as a method is often used interchangeably with ‘ethnography’. However, ‘ethnography’ refers to the descriptive output of a study of people and their social lives. This may involve a suite of methods, as well as qualitative observation.

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List of Papers Excluded from Review

List of Papers Excluded from Review

Code:

  • NS - No study, or study not substantially described

  • NQ - No qualitative or a different meaning of ‘qualitative’

  • OQ - Other qualitative (not specifically, or primarily, related to robotics)

  • D - Exact duplicate or related to another study already included.

Author Title Stage Code
Al-Badry Possibilities in Robot Stop-Motion 2 NS
Alac Social robots: Things or agents? 2 NS
Morana et al. When a robot is social: Spatial arrangements and multimodal semiotic engagement in the practice of social robotics 2 NS
Anastassakis et al. Design and Its Movements in Times of a Widespread Participation 2 OQ
Anzalone et al. Evaluating the Engagement with Social Robots 2 NQ
Baba Science, Technology and Society Revisited: What is Happening to Anthropology and Ethnography? 2 NS
Barnett et al. Investigating User Perceptions of HRI: A Marketing Approach, 3 NQ
Beer et al. The domesticated robot: design guidelines for assisting older adults to age in place 2 NQ
Beer et al. Toward a framework for levels of robot autonomy in human–robot interaction 3 NQ
Beer et al. Robot assisted music therapy a case study with children diagnosed with autism 2 NQ
Beir and Vanderborght Evolutionary method for robot morphology: Case study of social robot Probo 2 NQ
Bellotto et al. Qualitative design and implementation of human–robot spatial interactions 3 NQ
Bemelmans et al. Socially Assistive Robots in Elderly Care: A Systematic Review into Effects and Effectiveness 2 NS
Beran and Ramirez-Serrano Do children perceive robots as alive? Children’s attributions of human characteristics 3 NS
Bethel and Murphy, Review of human studies methods in HRI and recommendations,” 2 NS
Bjorling et al. Teen–Robot Interaction: A Pilot Study of Engagement with a Low-fidelity Prototype 2 NS
Blond Encountering robots in the field: How ethnographic studies of robots in practice benefit HRI 2 NS
Bradshaw et al. Human-agent-robot Teamwork 2 NQ
Broekens et al. Assistive social robots in elderly care: a review 2 NS
Buchner et al. User Experience of Industrial Robots over Time 2 NQ
Carlmeyer et al. The Hesitating Robot - Implementation and First Impressions 2 NS
Casper and Murphy Human–robot interactions during the robot-assisted urban search and rescue response at the World Trade Center 3 NS
Chang and Šabanoviś Exploring Taiwanese nursing homes as product ecologies for assistive robots 3 D
Chen et al. Pedestrian–Robot Interaction Experiments in an Exit Corridor 2 NQ
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Veling, L., McGinn, C. Qualitative Research in HRI: A Review and Taxonomy. Int J of Soc Robotics (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-020-00723-z

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Keywords

  • Qualitative methods
  • Survey
  • Taxonomy
  • Human–robot interaction
  • Social robotics
  • Interviews
  • Ethnography
  • Participatory design
  • Social science
  • Grounded theory