Ethnography Group

TLC 321

April 11, 2002


Cell Phone Ethnography: Mission Statement


     Our study will examine the use of cell phones on campus by students, faculty, and staff. We plan to examine how the use of cell phones has increased over the past few years, how cell phones fit into everyday life on campus, and how cell phones affect the classroom. Our survey will include questions about those topics as well as questions on rate plans, types of phones, and providers. We will have a short survey for students to fill out while on campus, as well as an emailed survey and an online version. We will also be conducting interviews with our professors asking them questions about the use of cell phones in class, what disturbances they cause, and how the professors react to cell phone usage in the class.
     To find data about the increased usage of cell phones on campus, we will turn to professors who have been here for more than five years, as well as seniors, grad students, and other staff members that were at the University before cell phones became the norm instead of the anomaly. We will also use information gathered from past students, possibly older siblings, who passed through college before the cell phone craze hit so hard. We will possibly show a chart comparing the use of cell phones nowadays to the use of pagers 5 to 10 years ago.
     Data about cell phone use as a part of everyday life will be gathered in our student surveys. One of the questions in the survey will be about how often the student uses his/her cell phone, as well as if it is their only phone, or just an extra phone. Our survey will also include questions about the amount of time spent on the cell phone everyday while on campus, and periods of use while on campus, e.g.: between classes, lunch breaks, while on the bus, etc.
     Information on how cell phone usage affects the classroom will undoubtedly come from our professor interviews. We will ask the professors if phones have ever, or normally ring in their classes, and what actions they take to discipline the students or prevent this from happening. Also, to get a sense of the generation gap between students and professors, we will ask the professors if they have a cell phone, and with what regularity do they use it.