Guided real time sampling using mobile electronic diaries

  • Kenneth Morrison

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis describes the motivation and development of Pocket Interview, an easily configurable handheld electronic data collection and diary tool. The system can be used to apply ‘experience sampling’ methods that allow the collection of data in real-time and in the user’s natural environment. Pocket Interview can prompt the user to make diary entries at fixed and/or random intervals. The system is configured via graphical user interfaces that are shown to be easily usable by non-computing users. Pocket Interview includes an option that allows this sampling to be ‘Guided’ whereby inconvenient prompts are temporarily deferred until a more convenient time through the use of contextual audio information. Subjects participating in real-time studies require high levels of commitment and exhibit difficulties maintaining their motivation. Guiding can offer to reduce the perceived burden on the user, improve response rates, increase the quantity of replies and the quality of those replies. This thesis describes a series of studies that investigate the following: • What are the more convenient times for sampling and how can they be detected? • Does Guided real-time sampling improve the data quality and participant compliance rates? • Participants attitudes towards mobile devices automatically gathering their context information. Guiding is a strategy that could be applied to all context-aware computing, phone call or message delivery and indeed all other prompting. As computing power continues to expand and more powerful mobile devices become available we will see an increase in the quantity and sophistication of applications that interrupt their users. This will add to user’s feelings of overload. To maximise user acceptability designers of computing systems require strategies, such as Guiding, to minimise the interruptions caused by proactive prompting.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsMedical Research Council
    SupervisorFrank Sullivan (Supervisor) & Nigel Pitts (Supervisor)

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