Stop and Drop: The Reflection

For my digital project I decided to look into the weeks that were most interesting to me, these were weeks 6 ‘personal devices and public spaces’ and weeks 8 ‘attention, presence and place’. I choose these topics because I wanted to identify what emotions that are attached to our devices when we have them and when we don’t have them, as well as uncovering the way we interact with our devices in relation to our attention span.

After extensive research into the topic of our attention span and anxiety felt towards not having our phones with us, I decided to conduct a social experiment to see just how truthful these claims really were. I was out to prove the statements made from a study conducted by Microsoft Corp (MsSpadden, 2015) for myself. The statement made by this study was that the human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 second, 1 second less than the attention span of a goldfish, which is sitting at 9 seconds. As well as combat some of the statements made by Phone Addiction (2015) on phone addition on millennials and other avid phone users.

My research was spilt into three different parts, the first of which was my research stage, finding out what information and studies were already out there regarding phone usage, attention span and phone addiction. Once this was established I moved onto my social experiment to obtain qualitative research on the emotional connections we have with our devices. The social experiment that I conducted was spilt into two sections, an observation stage and the experiment stage, each lasting 30 minutes each. I also conducted a survey to gain more data both a qualitative and quantitative front; this expands my research from detailed explanation and statistical information, as “both qualitative and quantitative methods of research play important roles in product development” (Madrigal and McClain, 2012).

From developing this project I have learnt how to put together a research project, which utilises more than just a survey, branching out into an experiment in response to the information I had found. In order to successfully conduct this experiment, I had to manage my time effectively to gain enough resources and present my results in a visual and engaging way. To keep on track with the different elements of this project and meeting my goals I created a timeline of when each element should have been completed by to give me time to change or improve upon what I had gained in terms of results. “Timelines are important in evaluating the feasibility of your project. Inexperienced researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that the various stages of research will take” (Develop a Research Proposal).

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While conducting this research project I have come across many risk that could hinder the progression of my research, therefore critical thinking was needed to prevent these risks from happening. The majority of the risk that would be associated with the qualitative data found within my experiment, as this is the data that can be seen as most harmful towards participants. “Qualitative research is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research” (Snap Survey, 2011). To over come each of these risks I have created a risk-planning table to refer to during the course of this research project.

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For more information on my research project refer back to my pervious post, Stop and Drop: The Research, were I talk about the background information on the topics I have chosen to talk about and further my knowledge on.

Research of this nature can be presented in a visual and engaging way, which is something I considered when looking at ways to present the results I found during the course of this research project. For this research to be effective on media platforms is it important for visual engagement to be present, if you wanted to convince media industries of the pressing issues at hand. Personal accounts from this type of research as seen through my social experiment highlights the pressing issues and can deepen the connection of people on a more personal level.


References:

Madrigal, D and McClain, B 2012, ‘Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative and Qualitative Research’, UX Matters, weblog, September 3, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2012/09/strengths-and-weaknesses-of-quantitative-and-qualitative-research.php&gt;

McSpadden, K 2015, ‘You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish’, Time, weblog, May 14, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/&gt;

N/A, Planning the Methodology – Timeline, Develop a Research Proposal, viewed 19 October 2016 <https://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/researchcourse/develop_writing_methodology_timeline.html>

Phone Addiction 2015, ’25 Surprising Facts About Phone Addiction’, Addiction Tips, February 22, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.addictiontips.net/phone-addiction/phone-addiction-facts/&gt;

Wyes, S.E 2011, ‘What is the Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?’, SnapSurveys, September 16, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.snapsurveys.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-qualitative-research-and-quantitative-research/&gt;

 

Stop & Drop: The Infographic

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Below is an infographic I created that shows the results of my survey conduct in the last couple of weeks in a visual and condensed manner. This information supports my findings from the social experiment I conducted a week ago, if you wish to take a look at that video click here.

The results found were conclusive to my initial hypothesis that many people in the age group of 17-21, also known as millennials, find it difficult to not have their phones or other electronic, Internet devices on them at all times or be interacting with them. The results also found that many people have less of an attention span when their phones or devices are around them, supporting the claims made that humans now have an 8 second attention span less than that of a gold fish who has a 9 second attention span.

Follow the rest of the infographic to find out what other interesting facts my research has found.

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Stop & Drop: The Social Experiment

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This is the social experiment I conducted in response to the research I found on the human attention span and the anxieties surround our phones, as mentioned in my previous post. This experiment follows Alanah, (who has given consent for her information to be used and viewed on a public forum), to better understand her interaction with her phone.

For this experiment I spent half an hour monitoring Alanah’s attention span while watching TV counting how many times she touched or interacted with her phone. For the other half hour, I took Alanah’s phone away from her and monitor her reaction and feelings towards not having her phone around her.

Watch the video above to see how the experiment unfolded.

Comment below your thoughts on the research and how you would feel if your phone was taken away from you. Do you think 30 minutes without your phone is excessive like Alanah?

Also, your participation would be greatly appreciated if you could complete my survey to give me more information for my research. Your answers will remain anonymous but will be placed on my blog for further analysis and to draw a conclusion.

Stop and Drop: The Research

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After the course of 9 weeks in the BCM240 lectures and tutorials I have come to a conclusion on the premise of my research project. Drawing from the content found in weeks 6 ‘personal devices and public spaces’ and weeks 8 ‘attention, presence and place’ lectures as well as pulling from my own experiences and emotions from anxiety felt with our devices and our attention span, I wish to shed some light on how we as a society in a newly technological age interact and feel about our devices.

Now let’s take a set back and imagine a time where everybody actually talked to each other, there were no technological distractions, no dinging of Facebook messages or whistles of tweets coming your way. What I like to call a simpler time!

Hard to imagine right?

Try imaging this…“A group of people wait by a monument, unaware of each other’s existence. A woman strides open-mouthed down a busy street, holding one hand across her heart. Two young men – brothers? – stand behind a white fence, both their heads bowed at the same angle.” – (Tom Chatfield, 2015)

Have you ever been in a similar situation (not as dramatic as this one), where something is happening but you’re too amerced in your phone to notice? Or would you in fact notice the situation and capture it on your phone to share with your online world?

Almost every city in the world has its streets packed with people doing the same thing, all taking the same positions bowed down to an electronic device. This has cause two problems in our society today, one our attention spans for everyday tasks is met by us taking 2 hours out to look at our phones and mindlessly scroll through our social media apps.

How many of you have sat in a lecture hall or in a tutorial and witnessed most of the class with their laptops open, but are tapping away on their phones or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook? I can’t say that I am no exception to this; in fact I have just spent an hour scrolling through Facebook while trying to complete this sentence.

If you don’t think this is bad, a new study conducted by Microsoft Corp found that the “average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain” (McSpadden, 2015).

The study also confirmed that 77% of 18-24 responded ‘yes’ when asked, “when nothing is occupying my attention the first thing I do is reach for my phone”. These findings coincide with a British study conducted in 2014, which found that the average person shifts their attention span between their Smartphone, tablet and laptop up 21 times in an hour. This need for constant engagement with digital devices leads me on to the second problem we have society, that being many people over the age of 18 being addicted to their phones.

From studies conduct on this topic here are some facts on Smartphone addiction (Phone Addiction, 2015):

44% of people have stated that they become very anxious when they lose or misplace their phones, also stating that they would not be able to go one day without their phones.

91% of generation Y revealed that they take their phones with them everywhere, even to the bathroom. Also highlighting that 80% of 18-24 year olds sleep with their phones right next to them.

The need to have your phone with you all the time, has caused 80% of people to have phantom vibrations, through the belief their phone is ringing but in reality is isn’t.

This has lead the average person to check their phone 110 times a day while more addicted people check their phones up to 900 times a day.

This has become such a pressing issue that scientists have named the fear of being without a mobile phone as nomophobia.

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Research methods:

In order to conduct my research and find analysis the results of peoples emotions and their interactions with their devices, I wish to product a survey whereby, I shall ask anonymously what individuals habits are when it comes to their phones, social media and their anxieties to their phone. I will slipt the survey into three parts, asking questions about attentions spans, their feeling towards their devices and how they would feel if they were not to have their devices on hand.

Meanwhile, I shall be conducting my own social experiment, where I shall be videoing the response of how many times an individual picks up or get distracted by their devices while in everyday situations as well as taking their devices away from them for an hour or two and recording their responses on an emotional level once being away from their devices for such a long period of time.

With each of these research methods I will be collecting both quantitative and qualitative, the reason for this is to ensure I get the most out of my responses in terms of statistical facts as well as in depth opinions that spark discussion and further research. “Both qualitative and quantitative methods of research play important roles in product development” (Madrigal and McClain, 2012). Quantitative research looks at numbers and gathering statistical information, which will help strengthen my research in terms of the percentage of participants who feel anxiety without their devices or do not feel anxiety without their devices. Qualitative research will give me a greater understanding to the emotions created with the connection of our devices and how often our attention is or is not lost due to distraction of our devices or lack of attention.