As you are all starting to get serious about your papers, I can see the rubber is hitting the road. You have interactions in mind and you are all increasingly grappling with critiquing those interactions using theory. As you do, I can sense anxiety in some of you: a lot of people aren’t sure they are doing what they are supposed to be.

I encourage you to revisit my paper, “Interaction Criticism: An Introduction to the Practice,” which we read back in September. I say that not to toot my own horn, but rather because that paper is intended to be a how-to guide for interaction criticism (hence the “an introduction to the practice” part)!

Among other things, it will remind you what criticism is for, what it does and doesn’t do, what it looks like, and why people do it. (As you will recall, there were 5 key claims of aesthetics and criticism introduced in the first half of the paper–with lots of juicy quotes and practical distinctions). The intro and conclusion of the paper speaks more generally about how interaction criticism could benefit interaction design–revisit those! See if the framings offered there give you a better sense of direction, a clearer idea of an end goal.

Another thing you can do to get a clearer sense of direction and/or goal is to revisit the papers this semester–Devereaux, Kickasola, etc.–that practice criticism. This time, pay less attention to what they say, and pay more attention to HOW they say it–the paper’s rhetoric, including its structure, the types of interpretations they make, the types of evidence they use to substantiate them, etc.

If you do both of these activities at the same time–revisit my paper and look at the rhetoric of some of the examples of criticism–then I think you will have a better sense of what kind of argument you can/should make.

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