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ICA 2012: Tetsuro Kobayashi, Jeffrey Boase, Takahisa Suzuki

Implications of self-report error for mobile communication research: Comparative study of Japan and the US

Research concerning the social and psychological effects of mobile phone communication is primarily conducted using self-report survey measures. However, recent studies have indicated a significant amount of measurement error when mobile phone communication is measured using self-report questions. This study compares the frequency of mobile phone use measured by self-report questions and error-free log data automatically collected through an Android smartphone application. The extent of measurement error in self-report questions and its predictors are also investigated. The data were collected from a sample of 310 Android phone users residing in Japan and 232 users from the U.S. Our descriptive analysis shows that users generally over-report their frequency of mobile communication in self-report measures. We further show an example of how this over-reporting can be responsible for inaccurate findings in the mediated communication literature. Finally, the importance of behaviour log data in mediated communication research is discussed.

Tetsuro Kobayashi is an associate professor at the National Institute of Informatics, Japan. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Tokyo for his study of social consequences of Internet use in Japan. His research area covers social network theory, social capital theory, and computer-mediated communication. He published his papers in journals such as Human Communication Research, Information, Communication & Society, and Journal of AI & Society. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Political Communication Lab of Stanford University.

Dr. Jeffrey Boase is an assistant professor in the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. His recent work examines the social utility of smartphones, with a focus on how this technology is used to bridge and bond with social ties. He has more than 20 published works appearing in venues such as the JCMC, Human Communication Research, the American Behavioral Scientist, Communication Research, and Information, Communication and Society. Dr. Boase received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and while completing his studies he spent a year at the Harvard Kennedy School on a predoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Digital Government. After receiving his Ph.D. he spent two years working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Tokyo. 

Takahisa Suzuki is a student of the Ph.D. Program of Department of Informatics, School of Multidisciplinary Sciences at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), Japan. He received his M.S. degree in computer Science in 2008 from the Graduate School of Information Science and Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan. He was a research student at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI) from 2009 to 2010. His areas of research interest are social psychology, mathematical sociology and information technology. He is a member of the Japanese Society of Social Psychology (JSSP) and Japanese Association for Mathematical Sociology (JAMS).