Examining mobile phone use in the wild with quasi-experimentation

Roto, V., Oulasvirta, A., Haikarainene, T., Kuorelahti, J., Lehmuskallio, H., and Nyyssönen, T. (2004). Examining mobile phone use in the wild with quasi-experimentation. HIIT Technical Report 2004-1, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Helsinky, Finland. [PDF]


This paper describes a methodology for conducting controlled experiments in the wild. The authors describe the limitation of many methodologies for conducting research with mobile technology. Their initial argument is that currently it is not possible to conduct controlled experiments in the wild because the difficulty of controlling nuisance variables and because it is difficult to record comprensively user’s data while on the move. They propose a technique to overcome many of these limitations with micro-cameras mounted on the device and on the body of the subject which record continuously what is happening around the user.

This methodology was proven to be effective to conduct reseach on how users assign attentional resources between the different elements of the environment while on the move (Oulasvirta et al., 2005). This paper discuss the pros and cons of this quasi-experimental methodology.


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