Skip to main content


Table 3 Studies with participants with physical impairments employing qualitative research methods

From: Using brain-computer interfaces: a scoping review of studies employing social research methods

Publication Data gaining methods Data analyzing methods Number of partici-pants Opinion towards BCI Issues reported Requests from technology Social relations Quality of life Personality Future BCI scenarios
Andresen et al., 2016 [106] interviews thematic analysis 8    discussion limited to naming techno-logical dimensions (function, design, support) which are deemed to be of relevance importance of social participation and communication (discussion is not directly linked to BCIs)    
Blain-Moraes et al., 2012 [90] focus group mix of qualitative methods (content analysis, thematic analysis) 8 offering freedom, hope, connection, independence; comfortability of learning to use the technology mental and physical fatigue, anxiety, pain/discomfort comfortability, ease of use, enabling communication and interlinkages to TV and phone; use in home environment; dignifying appearance worries regarding surplus-work effort for caregivers, but also provides caregivers with more time while using BCI    
Brown et al., 2016 [84] semistructured interviews none specified 1 (5 inter-views)   with implant: feeling self-conscious, irritation about usage; difficulty of control less expensive (batteries)    complexity of BCI use is at odds with the user’s “simple” and “easy-going” self-image  
Carmichael/ Carmichael, 2014 [83] “participatory research” none specified 8 uncertainty towards technology due to its novelty and tentative nature cap, electrodes, frustration about BCI illiteracy more information participation in and contribution to research progress and technology development    
Cincotti et al., 2008 [36] interactive discus-sions, interviews none specified 14    home use preference for front door opener reflects will to determine who can play a part in their social lives raising quality of life if being used at home   
Grübler et al., 2014 [85] semi-structured interviews qualitative content analysis (referring to Grounded Theory Method-ology) 19 expecting physical improvement, supporting science, curiosity towards technology, overall satisfaction with BCI testing; feeling astonished about BCI control discomfort and annoyance (prep-arations and electrodes), burden of transportation, fatigue, disappoint-ment/anger (about failure) data security    moments of self-experience BCIs are deemed to be impractical for everyday life use; no need for regulating BCIs
Grübler/Hildt, 2014 [87] semi-structured interviews (same as in Grübler et al. 2014) 19 (same as in Grübler et al. 2014)       varying opinions regarding (1) forming a functional unit with the BCI and (2) being able to forget about the technology while using it  
Heidrich et al., 2015 [81] participant obser-vation none specified not specified enjoyment   more efficiency     
Hildt, 2014 [86] semi-structured interviews (same as in Grübler et al. 2014) same as in Grübler et al. 2014       varying opinions regarding (1) forming a functional unit with the BCI and (2) being able to forget about the technology while using it  
Holz, 2015 [38] semi-structured interviews none specified 4 + 4 + 2 (three different studies) provides joy and happiness     provides opportunities for creativity and self-expression   
Holz et al., 2013 [56] semi-structured interviews, focus group none specified 4 BCIs for daily use are desirable given the technology improves more training required technical improve-ments, additional functions (e.g. “undo-function”)     
Holz/Botrel/ Kübler, 2015 [40] personal statements none specified 2 fun, happiness increased dependence on others   participating on social public life through art exhibitions self-esteem, expression of creativity, satis-faction   
Kübler et al., 2013 [61] open interviews none specified 17   set-up time, cap (comfort and look), need for washing hair after training, limited mobility, low speed      
Kübler et al., 2014 [62] interviews none specified 19   set-up, gel/cap, speed      ease of use and higher speed are imperatives for daily BCI use
Lightbody et al., 2010 [46] workshop, interviews none specified 15 satisfaction, preference for testing communi-cation functions discontent with phone function control of technical devices (especially TV), better ease of use being part of research team    potential for providing more engagement and participation
Mulvenna et al., 2012 [49] focus groups, interviews, interactive workshops none specified 20 + 11 satisfaction, appreciation       
Şahinol, 2016 [82] ethno-graphic field work (passive and participant obser-vations, video and audio materials, in-depth interviews) Grounded Theory Metho-dology 6 (inter-views with study partici-pants)   physical and mental strains, frustration, belied expectations, pain   participation in studies as a pastime   on the one hand: sense of agency, cooperation with machine; on the other hand: uncertainty about causes of actions (self or machine), feeling of objectifycation due to being a study participant  
Salisbury et al., 2016 [10] semi-structured qualitative questions none specified 25 enjoyment       
Zickler et al., 2011 [71] open interviews none specified 4    control of wheelchair and other devices     daily use would require improve-ments regarding the cap, the ease of use, the size of the hardware, speed, and additional control opportunities
Zickler et al., 2013 [72] semi-structured qualitative questions none specified 4 enjoyment gel induced skin problems, set-up time improvement of the matrix, integration in other AT devices   creative expression   daily use would require less electrodes and no cable and appropriate service support