SOFT VERSUS HARD: The Essential Tension

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (SciVal)


Over the past thirty years, human-computer interaction (HCI) has developed as a strongly theoretical area of interdisciplinary scientific research and technology development. In the mid-1980s, there was a debate in the pages of the journal Human-Computer Interaction regarding the nature of science in HCI. Allen Newell and Stuart Card described a “hard science” paradigm for HCI, which they argued would more effectively integrate psychology and computer science as interdisciplinary foundations. Robert Campbell and I questioned this conclusion. Like most significant debates, this discussion is ongoing. This paper summarizes the original debate, and places it in the context of HCI, as this field developed through the ensuing twenty years, and, more generally, in the context of multidisciplinary research visions, which inevitably must wrestle with the tensions between “soft” and “hard” science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman-Computer Interaction and Management Information Systems
Subtitle of host publicationApplications
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781317468417
ISBN (Print)9780765614872
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'SOFT VERSUS HARD: The Essential Tension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this