mobile research

Seeing Without Knowing: Potential Bias in Mobile Research

Mobile research – specifically, research by way of smartphone technology – has become a widely used and accepted design option for conducting qualitative and survey research.  The advantages of the mobile mode are many, not the least of which thought-bubbleare: the high incidence of smartphone ownership in the U.S. (more than 60% in 2015), the ubiquitous influence smartphones have on our lives, the dependence people have on their smartphones as their go-to channel for communicating and socializing, and the features of the smartphone that offer a variety of response formats (e.g., text, video, image) and location-specific (e.g., geo-targeting, geo-fencing) capabilities.

From a research design perspective, there are also several limitations to the mobile mode, including: the small screen of the smartphone (making the design of standard scale and matrix questionnaire items – as well as the user experience overall – problematic), the relatively short attention span of the respondent or participant precipitated by frequent interruptions, the potential for errors due to the touch screen technology, and connectivity issues.

Another important yet often overlooked concern with mobile research is the potential for bias associated with the smartphone response format and location features mentioned earlier.  Researchers have been quick to embrace the ability to capture video and photographs as well as location information yet they have not universally exercised caution when integrating these features into their research designs.  For example, a recent webinar in which a qualitative researcher presented the virtues of mobile qualitative research – esp., for documenting in-the-moment experiences – espoused the advantages of Read Full Text

The Relative Value of Modes

The cadre of modes available to researchers as they design their studies has grown hugely over the past decade. When researchers once had few choices – relying on face-to-face, landline phone, and mail – they now need to think carefully as they sift through an increasing number of options. In addition to the old standbys, other viable, and often preferable, modes must be considered, including mobile phone, online (without webcam use), and online (with webcam use).

Relative value of modes

  • Natural” characteristics, i.e., its ability to foster a natural, social conversation environment.
  • The ability to share content, e.g., photos, video, documents.
  • Rapport building, i.e., its ability to foster researcher-participant rapport.
  • The ability to identify cues – verbal and non-verbal – that provide insights beyond direct responses.
  • Coverage, i.e., the breadth and depth of geography and the population segment the mode can reach.
  • Cost, i.e., the total cost of the study attributable to the mode.

There are, of course, other considerations – such as, convenience, depth of response, and so on – but the six listed are certainly important.

Using these considerations, it can be helpful to visualize the relative value Read Full Text

Qualitative Research Design: Selected Articles from 2014

Research Design Review was first published in November 2009 2014 qualitative research designand currently includes over 110 articles concerning quantitative and qualitative research design issues.  “Qualitative Research Design: Selected Articles from Research Design Review Published in 2014″ is a compilation of 13 articles that were published in 2014 devoted to qualitative research design. To some extent, all of these articles revolve around the idea that adopting quality standards in qualitative research design is critical to the credibility, analyzability, transparency, and usefulness of the outcomes; with the first article making the case that quality issues transcend the paradigm debates.

Because analysis is often deemed the most difficult part of a qualitative study, a number of the articles in this collection pertain to “finding meaning,” data verification, and inference, along with discussions on reflexivity as an important contributor to the analytical process. These articles also touch on newer channels and modes in qualitative research, such as social media and mobile, as well as the evolving stature of qualitative research in areas such as psychology and political science.

The following Table of Contents presents the titles of the 13 articles included in this paper:

1. The Transcendence of Quality Over Paradigms in Qualitative Research

2. Finding Meaning: 4 Reasons Why Qualitative Researchers Miss Meaning

3. Reflections from the Field: Questions to Stimulate Reflexivity Among Qualitative Researchers

4. Verification: Looking Beyond the Data in Qualitative Data Analysis

5. Resisting Stereotypes in Qualitative Research

6. The Elevation of Qualitative Research Design: The Dawning of a New Day

7. Turning Social Media Monitoring into Research: Don’t Be Afraid to Engage

8. If I Conduct a Large Qualitative Study with 100 Participants, is it Quantitative Research? Three Big Reasons Why the Answer is “No!”

9. Integrating Quality Features in Qualitative Mobile Research Design

10. Observational Research Nurtures a Growing Interest in Contexts

11. The Many Faces of Qualitative Research

12. Qualitative Content Analysis: The Challenge of Inference

13. Qualitative Research: Using Empathy to Reveal “More Real” & Less Biased Data