Current and Recent Research

User-Centered Design of Language Archives




UCD Language Archives 1.jpg

More than half of the world’s 7,000 or so languages are at risk of no longer being spoken by the end of this century. Online language archives can potentially play a valuable role in language preservation and revitalization. This research trajectory brings the fields of language archives and user-centered design into dialogue, with the goal of improving users’ experiences with language archives and making them more accessible and useful. The first step was a workshop in February 2016 (funded by NSF grants 1543763 and 1543828). I am currently collaborating on the development of several language archives.

Collaborators: Gary HoltonHeather RothShobhana ChelliahAlexis PalmerRodney NielsenJiangping ChenEmma Nalin, students in 2016 Design Anthropology class


Wasson, C., M. Medina, E. Nalin, M. Chong, B. LeMay, and K. Saintonge. 2018. Designing Online Archives for Endangered Languages.  To appear in Journal of Business Anthropology, Special Issue on Design Anthropology, Spring 2018.

Wasson, C., S. Chelliah, S. Khular, and S. Basapur. 2017. Ensuring the Usefulness of a Language Archive for Indigenous Communities. Poster presented at the 2017 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM). October, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM.

Wasson, C. Conducting User Research to Inform the Design of Language Archives. 2017. Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) Blog, Linguistic Society of America. 31 August.

Al Smadi, D., S. Barnes, M. Blair, M. Chong, R. Cole-Jett, A. Davis, S. Hardisty, J. Hooker, C. Jackson, T. Kennedy, J. Klein, B. LeMay, M. Medina, K. Saintonge, A. Vu, and C. Wasson. 2016. Exploratory User Research for CoRSAL. Report prepared by students of UNT Design Anthropology class for S. Chelliah, Director of the Computational Resource for South Asian Languages (CoRSAL).

Wasson, C., G. Holton and H. Roth. 2016. Bringing User-Centered Design to the Field of Language Archives. Language Documentation and Conservation 10:641-681.

Wasson, C., G. Holton and H. Roth. 2016. Findings from the Workshop on User-Centered Design of Language Archives: White Paper.

Meetings + Networks:

A New Approach to the Analysis of Participatory Decision-Making


2013-2015, tbc


Julia Gluesing and I combined our areas of expertise to develop a novel approach to the analysis of participatory decision-making that integrates methods for analyzing the meetings where decisions get made with methods for analyzing interactions among the broader social networks that influence what happens in the meetings. (Funded by NSF grant 1408169.)

Collaborators: Julia GluesingElizabeth Sidler, Molly ShadeKen Riopelle


Gluesing, J., C. Wasson and K. Riopelle. 2017. Environmental Governance in Multi-Stakeholder Contexts: Integrating the Analysis of Decision-Making in Meetings with the Analysis of Network Interactions. In Networked Governance: New Research Perspectives, ed. Betina Hollstein, Wenzel Matiaske, and Kai-Uwe Schnapp. Berlin: Springer, 211-245.

Wasson, C. 2016. Integrating Conversation Analysis and Issue Framing to Illuminate Collaborative Decision-Making Activities. Discourse and Communication 10(4):378-411. 

Wasson, C. and J. Gluesing. 2015. A Wicked Methodology for the Analysis of Wicked Problems: Integrating the Analysis of Meetings and Networks.  Proceedings of the 59th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

The Social Life of the Car




The goal of this study was to generate a foundational understanding of how people in the U.S. understand and drive their cars. The study laid the groundwork for future ethnographic research projects that can take a deeper look at more narrowly defined topics. Our client was Nissan Research Center-Silicon Valley, whose mission is to develop self-driving cars.

Collaborators: Brigitte Jordan, students in 2014 Design Anthropology class


Jordan, B. and C. Wasson. 2015. Autonomous Vehicle Study Builds Bridges between Industry and Academia. Proceedings of the 2015 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, 24-35.

Jordan, B., C. Wasson, and H. Roth. 2015. Ethnographic Study Lifts the Hood on What REALLY Goes On Inside That Car. Blog post on EPICpeople

Wasson, C., T. Brickle, C. Ferman, C. Ferrell, S. Gonzalez, M. Halwani, H. Hasan, A. Hartt, A. Hickling, J. Kim, L. Machado, L. McLaughlin, A. Pottkotter, H. S. Roth, M Shade, T. Smith, and A. Whatley. 2015.  The Social Life of the Car. Report Prepared for Nissan Research Center-Silicon Valley. December 10, 2014.

UNT News Release

User Research for the UNT Data Warehousing/ Analytics/ Dashboards Initiative 



The goal of this study was identification of the key decision-making data needs of UNT’s Chancellor and Presidents, Cabinet Members, and Vice Chancellors, to inform the development of a complete redesign of UNT’s data warehousing system. 

Collaborators: William MoenHeather RothRama Dhuwaraha, UNT Data Warehousing/Analytics/Dashboards (D.A.D.) Initiative Team, now renamed the Insights Program  


Wasson, C. and H. Roth. 2015. Final Report: Phase One User Research for Data Warehousing/Analytics/Dashboards Initiative. Prepared for the D.A.D. Core Team, University of North Texas, 17 September. 

For earlier research, see Publications