David McDonald

Winter 2019

Developing UX maturity in the corporate world

This DRG is for students who are interested in how academic research and real-world business do (and don’t) mix. 

UX consulting is a booming business. However, the lack of systematic research on how technology companies learn to adopt UX practices can leave corporate stakeholders skeptical of whether investing in UX is worth it. This DRG provides students with a unique opportunity to work directly with a real-world software company, while also helping to build a body of scientific research on how UX maturity develops in corporate settings. 

As a member of the HCDE Corporate Affiliates Program, nFocus Solutions has offered to serve as a research partner for this DRG, focused on understanding how a medium-sized technology company with a legacy enterprise system works to advance itself through the stages of UX maturity. nFocus Solutions is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider of datamanagement, outcome measurement and performance management software to the public sector. They serve a wide range of clients across the public sector, ranging from single nonprofits serving 30 children a day, to entire communities working to improve high school graduation rates, to first responders performing search and rescue missions, to the United States Army. 

The quarter will culminate in a presentation to nFocus Solutions.


This DRG will meet from 4 -5:30 p.m. on Thursdays in Fall 2018 (2 credits) and will be led by David McDonald (HCDE), David Ribes (HCDE), and Emily S Lin (nFocus Solutions).

Students will begin the quarter getting oriented to relevant research literature, as well learning about nFocus Solutions and their clients. Over the course of the quarter, students will identify a research contribution they’d like to make (e.g., developing a survey instrument, testing a feedback mechanism), then do field work with nFocus employees to refine their methodology. The final deliverable will be a presentation to nFocus stakeholders.

Recommended Background

This DRG is most suitable for students of all levels (BA, MS, PhD) with an interest in both the research and business sides of user-centered design. Students with a background in organizational studies, social psychology, psychometrics, and/or ethnography are encouraged to apply. We also welcome students experienced with database technologies and/or social service or public sector end-users.

How to Apply

Please submit your current resume/CV and a short statement (2 paragraphs max) explaining why you are interested in this DRG to:

Emily S Lin,, and David McDonald,

Winter 2019

Do conflicts make the French, Spanish and English editions of Wikipedia better?

Co-directed by PhD student Taryn Bipat, and Professors David McDonald and Mark Zachry 

How many times has Wikipedia articles saved you from failing a homework assignment? Those articles would not have been of so much help if it were not for the contributors. These contributors do not always agree with each other. In this DRG, we will address how the conflict arises in the Wikipedia community.

To further understand this challenge, we will explore how editors behave across the various language editions of Wikipedia. While collaboration in the English Wikipedia has been researched extensively, these other language editions remain understudied. The goal of this project is to understand editor behavior in the English, French and Spanish language edition of Wikipedia.

We are looking for students during Winter quarter to help with a study understanding how conflict occurs between Wikipedia’s editors in the English, French, and Spanish Wikipedias. As part of this research, we will be exploring the literature around editor conflict and multilingual Wikipedia. We will be qualitatively coding editor comments in each language to understand how conflict arises across different language platforms.

We are looking for students, who have experience with or a willingness to learn (1) qualitative coding and (2) user behavior on online collaborative systems (3) Reading comprehension in either French or Spanish is necessary. This DRG will be organized into three separate committees for each language.

Being a part of this DRG would require attending a Saturday Wikipedia workshop on January 12 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. During the quarter, the DRG will be held every Wednesday from 4-5 p.m.

This is a 2-credit research group offered to undergraduate (HCDE 496) and graduate (HCDE 596) students. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this google form.


Dr. McDonald's Research Group archive