Chosen Option: Mobile News Adoption among Young Adults
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This paper offers critical analysis of the methodology used by Chan-Olmsted et al (2012) on the roles media usage news consumption and perception on adoption of mobile news among young adults. In this study researchers collected data on a representative student population to explain media usage, perception and news consumption affected how young adults adopt mobile news.
The researchers used quantitative approach in this study. Quantitative method work under the assumption that objective facts are better placed at explaining behaviour. This approach aims at describing causes of changes observed in social facts through carrying out measurements in an objective manner. For instance, Chan-Olmsted et al (2012) sought to measure how news consumption, media usage and perception affect how young adults adopt to mobile news. While many studies in social sciences use qualitative exploration to describe the changes, this study sought to objectively measure causes of young adults’ behaviour in mobile news adoption. The study employed the cross-sectional study design where data is collected from an entire population to help answer research questions posited as well as hypotheses postulated. Since this study was being carried out at one time point and it sought to measure certain characteristics on a given population (young adults), the cross-sectional design was appropriate.
Data was collected using self-administered online surveys. In March 2011, participants received an email link to the online survey. The researchers had two research questions which guided their research. The first research question that the study sought to answer was, “what do consumers perceive to be relative content, technology and cost advantage of mobile news? What specific content, technology and/or cost attributes of mobile news platform affect its overall relative advantage?” (p. 129). The second question was, “does news preference (that is, preferences for certain types of news topics relate to mobile news adoption?” (p. 131). At the same time, the data collected sought to test several hypotheses.
The study used convenience sampling. College students aged between 18 and 24 were chosen to represent young adults – since they were considered as the most active group in consumption of mobile media. The researchers controlled participant’s gender, marital status, education, income and age in order to eliminate possible influence on demographic variables. Convenient sampling was used. 755 students were contacted and 384 participated in the research which is a 51 percent response rate. A response rate of 51 percent can be termed as adequate since the number of contacted students was high (755). Bias in the response of the participants would be possible since the participants were likely to have new media technologies. Therefore, data on how youths without or with limited access to new media technologies adopt mobile news may not be collected.
The results from this study may not be generalised to represent the intended population, that is, young adults. As the researchers admit, they only sought a group of heavy internet users who are more comfortable with using new media news platforms. Additionally, although that age includes young adults, there are differences between young adults in colleges compared to their counterparts who are not in college. The researchers admit that students in colleges might have increased access to new media technologies from those they use or educational purposes. Thus their findings may differ with those of others who randomly sampled young adults. Finally, the study defined young adults as those between the ages of 18 and 24 which may differ with the ages brackets used to define young adults in other quarters. Therefore, this sample cannot be termed to be representative and thus the research findings cannot be generalised to represent the young adult population. The sample and response rate in a study determines how the results can be generalised to the population. If the sample could have been picked randomly across different settings, then the results could be generalised.
To measure mobile news adoption, the data collected include the frequency of participants to get news from their mobile devices and how long they view news on their mobile devices (time spent. The other measure included relative advantage where the study assessed the technological attributes, cost and content of mobile news consumption. To measure perceived utility and ease of use, the participants filled 7-point scales according to their perception. The other measure is media usage where participants were requested to say the interval at which they used different media. The last measure was consumption and preference where participants were required to specify the frequency at which they received news from different media and the kind of interests on different news topics. Use of multiple indicators increases reliability and reduces measurement error.
Four measures in the study include mobile news adoption, relative advantage, supposed utility, and media usage and ease of use. The researchers used multiplicity approach to investigate four features of adoption of mobile news; money invested in obtaining mobile news, timing of adoption, intensity of adoption and degree of mobile news usage. The researchers assert that the Cronbach’s alphas indicated that all the measures in the different variables were reliable. Cronbach’s alpha is used to determine consistency and correlation of items used in a survey to gauge reliability. Reliability is ensured when the scales are extended to encompass the predictions made. Since the measurements succeeded in quantifying the hypothesis postulated, their validity cannot be questioned. Using multiple measures meant the study would address frequency of usage and the intensity of mobile news adoption. Multiple indicators increase reliability.
Data collected through the online questionnaires were analysed using simple and multiple regression analysis. Dependent variables included; paid mobile service intention, time spent per use, history of use and mobile usage. After running a correlation analysis on dependent variables, to determine construct identity, the researchers say that they were connected. Predictor variables were; relative advantage, perceived usefulness, media usage, news consumption and perceived ease of use. Analysis sought to validate the hypotheses postulated. One of the limitation the researchers note on multiple regression model is the low adjusted –R2 values. They say that not all models were powerful predictors.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Study Design
The strengths of using the cross-sectional design and especially online surveys is its cost-effective nature, takes little time to conduct and a lot of information can be collected. In addition, using the cross-sectional design many factors can be assessed. Chan-Olmsted et al (2012) were able to assess three major factors; perceptions, media usage and news consumption. Had the study used other quantitative designs like the experimental design, it would have been difficult to manipulate the variables. Nevertheless, the cross-sectional design only gives short-time findings that can change in another time frame. Additionally, it this design casualty cannot be determined.
Basically, the methodology used in this study made it successful in answering the research questions and validating the hypotheses proposed. More so, the study design aided the researchers in meeting the objectives of the research. The findings do not only answer the research questions, they also correlate with other findings from similar studies. However, the study did focus on how participants get new on their phones. One of the major limitation, and consequent weakness of the study is sampling. Researchers used convenience sampling and settled on college students which amounted to bias in respondents since these student would be highly likely to have new media technologies. Again, the convenient sample significantly limit its generalizability. In spite of the weaknesses, the study succeeded in choosing the most appropriate research design for the nature of study they wanted to carry out, especially in collecting data for multiple variables and it achieved its research objectives.
Chan-Olmsted, S., Rim, H., & Zerba, A. (2012). Mobile news adoption among young adults: Examining the roles of perceptions, news consumption, and media usage, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 90(1), 126-147.