No such effect? The implications of measurement error in self-report measures of mobile communication use.

  • Kobayashi T
  • Boase J
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Abstract

Research on the social and psychological effects of mobile phone communication primarily is conducted using self-report survey measures. However, recent studies have suggested such measures of mobile phone communication use contain a significant amount of measurement error. This study compares the frequency of mobile phone use measured by self-report questions with error-free log data automatically collected through an Android smartphone application. We investigate the extent to which measurement non-random error exists in the self-report questions and the predictors of this error. The data were collected from a sample of 310 Android phone users residing in Japan. Our analysis shows that users generally overreport their frequency of mobile communication and that over-estimation is better predicted by proxy measures of social activity than demographic variables. We further show an example of how over-reporting can result in an overestimation of the effects of mediated communication on civic engagement. Finally, the value of behavioral log data in mediated communication research is discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • and dependent
  • behavioural
  • case that both independent
  • have relied heavily on
  • indeed
  • it is often the
  • log
  • measurement error
  • mobile communication
  • quantitative mediated communication researchers
  • self-report
  • self-report measures
  • smartphone
  • spurious correlation
  • when gathering data

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Authors

  • T. Kobayashi

  • J. Boase

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