Intensive Q-study of Mobile App’s Non-Users

January 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Information and communication technology use is a matter of societal importance. These technologies are developing at a rapid pace and absorb significant investments from the part of governments, companies and even individuals. Their adoption and use in everyday life constitutes a challenge as the potentialities of ICT are plentiful: education, business, health and culture are a few of the many sectors impacted by IT. This is even truer with mobile technologies. Interestingly, a recent meta-analysis of mobile internet usage underlines the scattered and fragmented nature of academic research dedicated to the use and non-use of mobile technologies and services (Gerpott and Thomas, 2014).

The reasons why people accept and adopt or not these technologies remain a vast domain of research. In this project, instead of focusing on the reasons for accepting and using ICT, we adopt a reverse viewpoint, trying to investigate the subjectivity of one “non-user”. Indeed, a recent ACM working group – Association for Computing Machinery – calls for more research in both conceptualising and investigating non-use (Baumer, Ames, Brubacker, Burrell and Dourish, 2014). This research group also points out the methodological challenge associated with the study of non-use. In this context, we advocate that Q-method offers a timely methodological option.

Building upon the avenue suggested by Stephenson that a single case study might be as rich as studies with several individuals, we conduct an investigation using nine conditions of instruction with the same participant. Our research findings exhibit that 4 viewpoints can be distinguished and that “non-use” is far from being a homogeneous concept.

Thanks to Q method, the different shades of technology acceptation, adoption and appropriation can be documented and brought into light. “Non-use” can be pictured as a changeable geometry between different aspects. A hexagon sums up the different significant dimensions as they appear from this single-case. Depending on circumstances, this hexagon varies across dimensions leading to different use-behaviour patterns (such as use, non-use, and partial use) as pictured below.changeable hexagonThis research will appear in Operant Subjectivity, 37/4.

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