The user study is a fundamental method used in HCI. In designing user studies, we often use compensation strategies to incentivize recruitment. However, compensation can also lead to ethical issues, such as coercion. The CHI community has yet to establish best practices for participant compensation. Through a systematic review of manuscripts at CHI and other associated publication venues, we found high levels of variation in the compensation strategies used within the community and how we report on this aspect of the study methods. A qualitative analysis of justifications offered for compensation sheds light into how some researchers are currently contextualizing this practice. This paper provides a description of current compensation strategies and information that can inform the design of compensation strategies in future studies. The findings may be helpful to generate productive discourse in the HCI community towards the development of best practices for participant compensation in user studies.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)