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Methodological strategies to understand smartphone practices for social connectedness in later life

Fernández-Ardèvol, Mireia, Rosales, Andrea, Loos, Eugène, Peine, Alexander, Beneito-Montagut, Roser, Blanche, Daniel, Fischer, Björn, Katz, Stephen and Östlund, Britt 2019. Methodological strategies to understand smartphone practices for social connectedness in later life. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 11593 , pp. 46-64. 10.1007/978-3-030-22015-0_4

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Abstract

Digital practices in later life are not yet well understood. Therefore, this paper discusses the framework for a research design project that aims at tracing differences and similarities in how older adults use their smartphones in circumstances in and outside their homes in Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada. The research questions of this international research project focus on the extent to which digital mobile practices relate to perceived social connectedness among older adults aged 55–79 years old. While studies have shown that the subjective experience of ‘being connected’ supports continued wellbeing in later life, there remains an insufficient understanding of the processes through which digital mediated social interaction is effective for social connectedness. The analytical framework of the project prioritizes the co-constituency of (digital) technology and ageing, and takes digital practices in everyday life as its entry point. The main data collection tool will be the tracking of smartphone activity of 600 older adults (150 per country) during four weeks. An online survey and qualitative interviews will gather data about the meanings of the quantified digital practices, and how they shape (if they do) the participants’ connection to the world. This approach will allow us not only to get insight into what older adults say how they used their smartphone but also to gain insight into their real-life daily use. The assessment of the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses of the methods contributes towards an accurate and appropriate interpretation of empirical results and their implications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany) / Springer Verlag (Germany): Computer Proceedings
ISSN: 0302-9743
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 September 2019
Date of Acceptance: 30 January 2019
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 09:03
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/125219

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