Augmenting Survey and Experimental Designs with Digital Trace Data


Jeffrey Boase

Communication Methods & Measures

2016. 10:23, 165-166


How might researchers effectively integrate digital trace data into classic research designs? Rather than focusing on the validity or reliability of digital trace data, this article explores this question through the discussion of two studies.




Listening to Social Rhythms: Exploring Interactional, Time Stamped Data Using Sonification


Jack Jamieson and Jeffrey Boase

The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods


The popularity of social media has given rise to a vast number of time-stamped logs of tweets, blog posts, text messages, status updates, comments, shares and other communications. These data sets can be explored to identify new types of interactional patterns and trends. Data sonification – converting data into sound – is particularly well- suited to exploring temporal patterns within time-stamped log data because sound itself is inherently temporal and the human auditory system has excellent temporal resolution. This chapter presents examples of sonifications of social media data, discusses considerations for performing sonification-based analyses, and describes a study in which sonification was used to explore temporal patterns in mobile text message log data. The intent is to allow readers who are unfamiliar with sonification to understand its capabilities and limitations, as well as how they may apply sonification in their own research.




Political Conversations as Civic Engagement: Examining Patterns from Mobile Communication Logs in Japan


Takahisa Suzuki, Tetsuro Kobayashi, and Jeffrey Boase

 Mobile Media, Political Participation, and Civic Activism in Asia


Political conversation is regarded as an important form of political par- ticipation and civic engagement. Although significant differences have been found in the level of political conversation between countries, studies on political conver- sation in Japan are scarce. In this study, we investigated political conversation between people, considering the kinds of dyads in personal networks in Japan and how partners are selected. We pursued an exploratory analysis of the features of dyads in political conversation through mobile communication logs, comparing those in Japan and the US. For both countries, the results show that discussion of important topics and the number of voice calls in the afternoon was significant pre- dictors of political conversations. In Japan, discussing with other people and family were more significant predictors than for the US. These results may have important implications for clarifying the extent to which political conversations take place, with whom, and how they occur as a by-product of other topics.




Reconnecting Here and There: The Reactivation of Dormant Ties in the United States and Japan


Jeffrey Boase, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Andrew Schrock, Tsutomu Suzuki, and Takahisa Suzuki

American Behavioral Scientist

2015. 59:8, 931-945


This article examines the reactivation of dormant ties in Japan and the United States. Using the institutional approach to culture developed by Yamagishi et al., it is hypothesized that respondents living in Japan will be less likely to reconnect with dormant ties when prompted than respondents living in the United States. It is further hypothesized that interaction with kin and work ties will help to explain lower levels of reconnection in Japan than in the United States. To examine these hypotheses, we developed a field experiment in which 95 adults living in Japan and 68 adults living in the United States were prompted by a smartphone application to reconnect with dormant ties. The results of this study show strong support for the hypothesis that respondents living in Japan are less likely to reconnect with dormant ties than respondents living in the United States when prompted. There is also mixed support for the hypothesis that interaction with kin and work ties helps to explain lower levels of reconnection in Japan than in the United States.




Emerging From the Cocoon? Revisiting the Tele-Cocooning Hypothesis in the Smartphone Era


Tetsuro Kobayashi, Jeffrey Boase, Tsutomu Suzuki, and Takahisa Suzuki

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

2015. 20:3, 330-345


The tele-cocooning hypothesis posits that mobile communication increases interaction with communication rich ties, while simultaneously weakening interaction with communication weak ties. In this study, we demonstrate how smartphones can be used to mitigate tele-cocooning behavior by stimulating interaction with communication weak ties. Using a smartphone application to collect non-identifying mobile communication log data, we conducted a field experiment with 193 Japanese participants. The treatment consisted of onscreen reminders designed to stimulate interaction with communication weak ties. The results indicate that the treatment promoted the activation of communication weak ties and the acquisition of information through those ties, suggesting that smartphones can be utilized to promote access to social capital.




Implications of Software-Based Mobile Media for Social Research


Jeffrey Boase

Mobile Media & Communication

2013. 1:1, 57-62


Software-based mobile media devices such as smartphones and tablets pose both theoretical challenges and methodological opportunities for social research. The first part of this article discusses how the complex, changing, and often idiosyncratic configuration of software-based mobile devices challenges the production of theoretical generalizations within and across populations. It is argued that overcoming this challenge involves attention to the mobile nature of these devices and focusing on clearly defined, widespread affordances. The second part of this article discusses ethical, philosophical, and theoretical issues surrounding the methodological opportunity to collect large quantities of behavioral data using software-based mobile devices.




No Such effect? The Implications of Measurement Error in Self-Report Measures of Mobile Communication Use


Tetsuro Kobayashi and Jeffrey Boase

Communication Methods and Measures

2013. 1:1, 57-62


Research on the social and psychological effects of mobile phone communication primarily is conducted using self-report measures of use. 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. Using data from 310 Android phone users in Japan, we investigate the extent to which nonrandom measurement error exists in self-report responses to questions about mobile phone use and predictors of this error. Our analysis shows that users generally overreport their frequency of mobile communication and that overestimation is better predicted by proxy measures of social activity than demographic variables. We further show an example of how overreporting 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.




Mobile Communication Networks in Japan and America


Jeffrey Boase and Tetsuro Kobayashi

China Media Research

2012. 8:5, 90-98


Scholars have argued that interpersonal networks are more dominated by kin and work ties in Japan than in America. This paper seeks to examine the extent to which these differences manifest in the voice calling patterns of smartphone users in these two countries. We draw on data collected from a smartphone application that we designed to anonymously collect mobile log and pop-up survey data. The application was used to collect data from 226 adults in living in Japan and 195 adults living in America. Using descriptive and multivariate statistics we compare the voice call interaction patterns of respondents in these two countries. We conclude by discussing the extent to which the concept of interpersonal collectivism can be applied to understand different patterns of mobile communication in Japan and America.