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Www.kent.ac.uk/chss Centre for Health Services Studies The prevalence of multitasking and the influence of Internet use thereon Reshaping everyday life?

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Presentation on theme: "Www.kent.ac.uk/chss Centre for Health Services Studies The prevalence of multitasking and the influence of Internet use thereon Reshaping everyday life?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Centre for Health Services Studies The prevalence of multitasking and the influence of Internet use thereon Reshaping everyday life? The impact of new technologies on citizens time IPPR, London 21 November 2006 Dr Susan Kenyon

2 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 2 Overview What is multitasking… and why does it matter? Multitasking and Internet use Two datasets: Methodology Sample Results: diary study Results: questionnaire survey Discussion: the implications of the findings Future research direction These data Future studies – appropriate methods

3 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 3

4 4 What is multitasking – and why does it matter? Multitasking is the simultaneous conduct of two or more activities, during a given time period. Implications of multitasking for: Definitions of time Understanding of time use Time use methodologies – and analysis

5 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 5 Why might Internet use influence time use? From clock time to real time to network time Real time – Castells – the death of clock time? Network time – Hassan – no longer governed by the rule and pace of clock time – return to task time? Time use – what is being substituted? Focus on social effects and effects for transport Polarisation – Internet good, Internet bad Time-space compression – the death of distance? Hagerstrand – time space prisms Kwan – time-space convergence is literally complete; activities are placeless and timeless But what about multitasking?

6 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 6 Why might Internet use influence multitasking? Preconditions for multitasking: Spatial co-presence Temporal co-presence Influence of Internet upon multitasking: Reducing locational dependence – in space and time Continuity of engagement – the fragmentation of activities Active/cognitive attention if, viewed 17/07/06

7 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 7 Hypothesis Internet use will lead to greater multitasking, because of the greater ability to multitask when we are online …with attendant implications for our understanding of the impacts of Internet use upon activity participation and time use.

8 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 8 One study, two datasets: the accessibility diary Sample: 96 participants; 3 waves, six months apart Theoretical sampling: income, Internet experience, location, transport mode

9 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 9 One study, two datasets: national questionnaire survey Sample: 1000, demographically representative of GB weekly Internet users aged 16+ BUT more Internet experience and spend longer online Influence of multitasking upon decision to conduct activities online/offline Can you multitask more online than offline? Qualitative responses – text box

10 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 10 Results: diary study (1) Multitasking is very common for this sample hours/day BUT high degree of variation What are people doing with this time? Table 4. Assessing the importance of multitasking: mean minutes per week spent in primary and secondary activities (n=96) Mean minutes per weekSecondary activity time as % of primary activity time ActivityPrimarySecondaryPrimary plus secondary Education Info. search Paid work Shopping Social networks All online activities All travel activities Increases perception of time spent in all activities by % Not randomly distributed across activity types 60% increase in time spent online

11 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 11 Results: diary study (2) Different activities more amenable to having activities appended Tendency to multitask influenced by primary activity: Online activities more likely to be multitasked than offline activities Type of secondary activity influenced by primary activity Table 5. Percentage of primary activity time involving multitasking, by activity category and offline/online status (wave 1) (n=86) Total secondary activity time as a percentage of total primary activity time Primary activity typeTotal time % Primary is offline % Primary is online % Education Info. search Paid work Shopping Social networks All online activities44.7- All offline activities (excl. sleeping) All travel activities60.0 -

12 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 12 Results: questionnaire Ability to multitask influences Internet use Between 33 and 52% of participants say that the ability to multitask influences their decision to participate in key activities online, rather than offline People can multitask more online than offline Qualitative data support these findings Table 7. Can you multitask more when doing the following activities online than when you do them offline? (%) n =YesNoSometimesDont know Grocery shopping Non-grocery shopping Communicating with family and friends Formal education Searching for information

13 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 13 Conclusions and further research Multitasking is prevalent and important The Internet influences the ability and propensity to multitask The Internet influences the nature of multitasking Increased number of activities can be multitasked Increased activity participation Implications for study of Internet impacts Understanding of behaviour and behavioural change Implications for… Time use; travel; social exclusion/sociability Future directions These databases – soon to be available online Methodological development Theoretical/conceptual development – nature of time and time use

14 Centre for Health Services Studies chss 14 Acknowledgements and contact details EPSRC/DfT funded study within the FIT research programme Research undertaken as part of the INTERNET project at the Centre for Transport and Society, UWE, Bristol For further information: Dr Susan Kenyon Lecturer in Qualitative Research Methods Centre for Health Services Studies University of Kent Canterbury Kent CT2 7NF Tel:


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