Softening Up Hard Science: Reply to Newell and Card

  • John M. Carroll
  • Robert L. Campbell


A source of intellectual overhead periodically encountered by scientists is the call to be “hard”, to insure good science by imposing severe methodological strictures. Newell and Card (1985) have undertaken to impose such strictures on the psychology of human-computer interaction. Although their discussion contributes to theoretical debate in human-computer interaction by setting a reference point, their specific argument fails. Their program is unmotivated, is severely limited, and suffers from these limitations in principle. A top priority for the psychology of human-computer interaction should be the articulation of an alternative explanatory program, one that takes as its starting point the need to understand the real problems involved in providing better computer tools for people to use.


Computer Science Human Factor Rapid Prototype Task Analysis Interface Design 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Carroll
    • 1
  • Robert L. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.User Interface InstituteIBM Thomas J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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