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Towards robust experimental design for user studies in security and privacy

Krol, K; Spring, JM; Parkin, S; Sasse, MA; (2016) Towards robust experimental design for user studies in security and privacy. In: Proceedings of the 4th LASER Workshop (2016): San Jose, US, 26 May 2016. (pp. pp. 21-31). IEEE: Piscataway, US. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Human beings are an integral part of computer security, whether we actively participate or simply build the systems. Despite this importance, understanding users and their interaction with security is a blind spot for most security practitioners and designers. / Aim: Define principles for conducting experiments into usable security and privacy, to improve study robustness and usefulness. / Data: The authors’ experiences conducting several research projects complemented with a literature survey. Method: We extract principles based on relevance to the advancement of the state of the art. We then justify our choices by providing published experiments as cases of where the principles are and are not followed in practice to demonstrate the impact. Each principle is a discipline specific instantiation of desirable experiment-design elements as previously established in the domain of philosophy of science. / Results: Five high-priority principles – (i) give participants a primary task; (ii) incorporate realistic risk; (iii) avoid priming the participants; (iv) perform doubleblind experiments whenever possible and (v) think carefully about how meaning is assigned to the terms threat model, security, privacy, and usability. / Conclusion: The principles do not replace researcher acumen or experience, however they can provide a valuable service for facilitating evaluation, guiding younger researchers and students, and marking a baseline common language for discussing further improvements.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Towards robust experimental design for user studies in security and privacy
Event: The 4th LASER Workshop (2016): Learning from Authoritative Security Experiment Results
Location: San Jose, US
Dates: 26 May 2016
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/las...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503240
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