Smartphone log data in a qualitative perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Log data from smartphones have primarily been used in large-scale research designs to draw statistical inferences from hundreds or even thousands of participants. In this article, we argue that more qualitatively oriented designs can also benefit greatly from integrating these rich data sources into studies of smartphones in everyday life. Through an illustrative study, we explore a more nuanced perspective on what can be considered “log data” and how these types of data can be collected and analysed. A qualitative approach to log data analysis offers researchers new opportunities to situate smartphone use within people’s practices, norms, and routines. This is of relevance both to studies focusing on smartphones as cultural objects in everyday life and studies that use such devices as proxies for social behaviour more generally. We argue that log data, for instance in in-depth interviews, may serve as cues to instigate discussion and reflection as well as act as resources for contextualizing and organizing related empirical material. In the discussion, the advantages of a qualitative perspective for research designs are assessed in relation to issues of validity. Further perspectives on the promises of log data from various devices are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMobile Media & Communication
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)335-350
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2015

ID: 130796387