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Ethnography in HRI Research

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Cathrine Hasse, Aarhus University, Denmark
Stine Trentemøller, Aarhus University, Denmark
Jessica Sorenson (jeso@edu.au.dk), Aarhus University, Denmark


This Special Issue will be based on the Workshop “An alternative HRI methodology: The use of ethnography to identify and address Ethical, Legal, & Societal (ELS) issues” (http://reeler.eu/activities/human-robot-interaction-2018-hri/) that will be held in Chicago, USA on Monday, March 5, 2018 in conjunction with the 13th ACM / IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2018) (http://humanrobotinteraction.org/2018/).
The authors are requested to submit their full revised version of papers to the special issue complying with the general scope of the journal. The submitted papers will undergo a peer review process before they can be accepted. Notification of acceptance will be communicated as we progress with the review process.


The authors are kindly invited to register at our paper processing system at:
and submit their contribution using a special track established for this special issue (SI on Alternative HRI methodology). All papers will go through the journal’s high standards, quick, fair, and comprehensive peer-review procedure.
Instructions for authors are available online at:

The deadline for the submissions is May 31, 2018 but individual papers will be reviewed and published online on an ongoing basis.

Contributors to the Special Issue will benefit from:
• fair and constructive peer review provided by recognized experts in the field,
• Open Access to your article for all interested readers,
• fast online publication of articles,
• no publication fees,
• convenient, web-based paper submission and tracking system – Editorial Manager,
• free language assistance for authors from non-English speaking regions;

We are looking forward to your submission.
In case of any questions, please contact us at jeso@edu.au.dk or Justyna.Zuk@degruyteropen.com


Date: March 5, 2018
Location: Chicago, USA
Website: http://reeler.eu/activities/human-robot-interaction-2018-hri/

Consistent with the theme Robots for Social Good, our aim is to present a novel methodological approach to HRI research that can lead to more ethical, sustainable, and responsible robotics. Ethnographic research provides a close look at real-life experiences of human engagement with robotic technologies - in use and in design processes.
This workshop departs from prior HRI workshops by providing concrete methods for addressing human needs and societal concerns. Despite increasing interest in ethnographic methods, ethnographic methodology has not yet been the topic of an HRI workshop. Therefore, we have organized a workshop that contributes new uses of ethnography and qualitative methods as tools for research in HRI to go beyond user testing and user experience research, and consider the full effects of robotic technologies on humans.

In this workshop, we will unfold the benefits and challenges of conducting ethnographic research, drawing on our experiences in the REELER project and on participants’ experiences in their own research.
We will introduce the novel use of ethnographic research methodology to: 1) understand and conceptualize users, work, robots, and design practices in new ways; 2) identify and address ELS issues, to ensure that future robot design processes take into account these new understandings. Position papers should relate to one of these two topics.
Our overall purpose is to contribute a methodological approach to HRI that helps to identify ELS issues through ethnographic research methods, that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, and that broadens the scope of existing HRI research and development while providing concrete tools for addressing these ELS challenges.

Topic 1: Understanding users, work, robots, and design practices
Position papers under this topic may concern (but are not limited to):
• Ethnographic studies of users
• Workplace studies of robots
• Ethnographic studies of robot/technology design
• Ethnographic data: ’nice to have’ or ’need to have’?
Topic 2: Identifying and exploring ELS issues for sustainable and responsible robot development
Position papers relating to this topic might address (but are not limited to):
• Impact of robots on social/work settings
• Issues of inclusion/exclusion in e.g. healthcare robotics
• Policy and legal issues in robotics research
• Collaboration in design processes
• Bridging the gap between robot design and users/society

Cathrine Hasse, Aarhus University, Denmark
Maria Bulgheroni, Ab. Acus, Italy
Kathleen Richardson, De Montfort University, UK
Andreas Pyka, University of Hohenheim, Germany
Karolina Zawieska, De Montfort University, UK
Ben Vermeulen, University of Hohenheim, Germany
Stine Trentemøller, Aarhus University, Denmark
Jessica Sorenson, Aarhus University, Denmark