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Selecting a Contribution Type


CHI 2013 encourages submission of a broad range of papers relevant to Human Computer Interaction. By recognizing different contribution types (as listed below), CHI hopes to support a variety of submissions, and guide referees to review your Paper or Note using criteria appropriate to the type of contribution your paper is making.

The author selects a contribution type that guides how the paper should be evaluated by reviewers and by the program committee. You will designate the contribution type that best fits your paper. While each contribution type will have its own review criteria, the primary criterion for evaluation of all Papers and Notes remains the research’s contribution to HCI. The CHI program committee strongly encourages reviewers to review your submission according to its contribution type.


We recognize that it may be difficult to choose a contribution type that best matches your submission.More than one contribution type may seem plausible, or your paper may fall between contribution types, or it may offer its own unique contribution. In spite of all this, choose the best match possible. The scope of each contribution type is suggestive, rather than rigidly defined.

While referees are given criteria for judging each contribution type, the overarching principle is whether it makes a significant contribution to HCI, and to judge the paper accordingly. In all cases, we will do our best to give every paper the most professional reviews and most meaningful discussion possible within the context of the actual submission. The Subcommittee Chairs are senior people who have a broad view of the field of human-computer interaction. They will adopt an inclusive perspective on what makes a valid research contribution to HCI. Subcommittee Chairs recognize that many papers, or perhaps even most papers, will not perfectly fit the scope of a contribution type. The Subcommittee Chairs, and the Associate Chairs who work with them, will strive to find the best referees possible, regardless of the exact contribution type of a paper.

What are the contribution types? In all cases, a CHI Paper or Note must break new ground and make an original research contribution.

Development or Refinement of Interface Artifacts or Techniques

Development or Refinement of Interface Artifacts or Techniques concerns the on-going development of new interface artifacts or the refinement of knowledge of interface artifacts and techniques already well-known to the HCI community. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Do you provide context, where you clearly review what is already known and what limitations exist in knowledge about this artifact or technique?
  • Do you motivate a real problem that is worth solving? For example, do you justify the beneficial value of this artifact or technique not only in isolation but within the global context of its expected uses?
  • Do you describe the artifact or technique in sufficient detail for others to replicate it?
  • Do you include a rigorous and convincing validation of the artifact/technique (e.g., empirical study, usability study, field study as appropriate), where you clearly show that incremental gains not only exist, but that the gains are of practical significance?

Understanding Users

Understanding Users contributes an analysis of people, their behaviors, their situations and context, their perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral capabilities, and/or their interaction with their artifacts. Such an understanding forms the background of many HCI and software engineering disciplines, where it serves to inspire and ground new design directions or where it forms the core of a requirements analysis. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Do you clearly describe the methodology and mechanics behind the analysis (e.g., ethnographic, field investigation, interviews, contextual inquiry).
  • Do you clearly describe what new understandings were gained?
  • Do you show how the value of this new understanding is relevant to HCI, i.e., where it increases our understanding of human behavior as related to HCI, or how it adds insight into the organization of social settings, or by showing implications for design, or how it causes us to reconsider prior perspectives of human behavior and contexts within HCI, or by helping us analyze other relevant contexts?

Systems, Tools, Architectures and Infrastructure

Systems, Tools, Architectures submissions contribute the underlying software and technology associated with a novel interactive application, user interface feature, user interface design, or development tool. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Do you show that the idea is original, of interest, and valuable to a reasonably broad subset of the CHI community?
  • Is the idea placed in context, where you detail the expected situation, tasks and users?
  • Are you extremely clear about what has and has not been implemented?
  • Do you provide sufficient information for an experienced researcher to implement a similar system?
  • Can the system work within its proposed settings, or are there significant obstacles to its use?
  • Do you validate the idea, where validation can be by sound argumentation, reflection of experiences, user studies, or other evidence proving its value? For example, do you demonstrate that it makes new or more functional interfaces practical or the creation of existing interface techniques dramatically easier? Or do you demonstrate performance gains that clearly impact the user experience? Or do you reflect on experiences using the contribution to create interfaces or provide other evidence proving its value? (Note that a good systems paper does not necessarily require a user study, but it does require an appropriate and reasonable validation.)


Methodology contributes a novel method or method variation that helps us design an HCI artifact or evaluate an HCI artifact or setting. That is, it improves how we do what we do. The method may be intended for use in research or development settings (or both), but the paper should be clear about the intended audience. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Is the methodology novel?
  • Do you show how the methodology builds on or contrasts with related work?
  • Does the methodology have relevance and importance to HCI practice and/or research?
  • Is the methodology described in sufficient detail so that others can use it?
  • Has the value of the methodology been demonstrated, e.g., by showing how it helps product design, development, and use, or by demonstrating its use in a particular setting, or by contrasting the results obtained with a competing methodology, or by showing how its use improved the process it was intended to address?


Theory submissions contribute principles, concepts, or models on which work in HCI might be based. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Is the theory novel or a significant variation of an existing theory?
  • Is the theory understandable by a general HCI practitioner as well as an expert?
  • Do you show how the theory is situated with respect to other theories, and how it builds upon them?
  • Does the theory have relevance and importance to HCI practice and/or research?
  • Has the value of the theory been demonstrated, e.g., by showing how it helps describe, predict and/or influence the design of an interactive application or setting?
  • Does the theory recast existing work in other areas in a way that provides greater value to an HCI practitioner / researcher?

Innovation, Creativity and Vision

Innovation, Creativity and Vision contributes a significant innovation, vision or design concept in how a user interface might appear, behave or be used, or a new invention that significantly enables new styles of user interfaces. While thought pieces are possible, proof of concept implementations and demonstrations will be favoured. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Do you clearly detail the idea?
  • Is the idea novel or a significant variation of an existing idea?
  • Do you convincingly describe the potential significance and impact of this work, where you clearly argue about its significance, how it enables a new class of user interfaces or user experiences, and how it can affect future generations of users?
  • Do you suggest how the innovation, vision or design might be adopted in practice, e.g., by reflection, by probes, or by case studies?
  • Do you stimulate thought on new ways to interact with technology, or how new cultural meanings will be applied to the technology we build?


Argument papers contribute provocative essays. They present the author’s well-supported arguments about a topic of significant interest to a relatively broad segment of the CHI community. They have well supported claims, including consideration of other perspectives, and/or data from research or practice, if applicable. They are expected to have a stimulating effect on the CHI community. Your paper will likely include answers to the following questions:

  • Do you clearly show that this is a topic of highly significant interest to a relatively broad segment of the CHI audience?
  • Is it provocative?
  • Will it have high impact to HCI? That is, will it stimulate significant discussion and perhaps changes in our practices?
  • Is the argument well founded? That is, is it well argued? Is it well supported by facts? Does it consider the range of current
  • Does it incorporate other points of view and perspectives, and does it consider them in a balanced fashion?