Researching implicit memory: The smartphone route to the truth

Duncan Grimes

A study into media consumption using smartphones revealed a more truthful picture of what media was consumed and when.

Qualitative research is often about exploring personal truths that are hard to quantify. This search for personal qualitative truths has led to a range of approaches focused on participants generating their own data. This can be seen through co-creation, ethnographic diaries and immersion tasks.

New smartphone technology offers another way in which participants can record their own data. With 65% of the population now owning a smartphone, it represents an accessible tool people carry around with them every day. The additional functionality of a smartphone through the camera and internet access offers the opportunity for participants to record a wider range of types of data. In addition to this, 96% of smartphone owners download free apps and 29% like to explore new apps. This adds another dimension to using smartphones as apps could represent a familiar, interactive and user-friendly interface for participants to record their behaviour.