Method and implementation
In a social science study there are many approaches that can be taken, all with their perks and demerits. For this particular study, a interpretivist approach was selected since it is the best approach to utilize when researching social media in the aforementioned context .
Interpretivism is a research approach that has at its core the ” the belief that the concepts and language that researchers use in their researches shape their perceptions of the social world they are investigating, studying, and defining”. Moreover, interpretivism is an inductive practice that aims to acquire in-depth insights into the motivation of people and their meaning.
Therefore, interpretivism naturally blends with the purpose of this study, to dig deeper into the internal individual’s decision process through the means of a qualitative study.
Qualitative research has as its primary objective to gather insight into the reason behind individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Due to the complex intricacies of human motivation, this type of research was the most appropriate for the topic chosen as well as be the most feasible from the perspective of resources, time and expertise. Moreover, human motivation cannot be boiled down to numbers because adoption of an innovation is not a “yes” or “no” question, it is a complex construct that as previously states has a multitude on stages and determining factors.
When it comes to the research design, this study falls into the category of an experimental research design, since it focuses on the effect of social media on the individual when it comes to mobile game adoption. Due to this design, an experimental method was used by combining three main elements, practically acquainting participants with the game in question, a semi-structured qualitative interview and their observation by the researcher. Although researching individuals utilizing only one of the previously mentioned elements was considered, the choice was made to combine the three due to the following three reasons.
The main reason was due to the fact that by making the individuals play the mobile game as a part of the study, bias such as the memory bias was reduced and all the participants had undergone the same process, limiting the inconsistencies that may arise from them not having the same frame of reference.
Another motive is that by utilizing a qualitative interview, it gives the researcher the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the motivations of participants in relation to their game adoption behaviour. Due to their nature, interview are a better tool than surveys when it comes to gathering data regarding opinions, impressions or reasoning . By having the added advantage of being able to interact with the participant, further questions can be asked to get a better understanding of the individual’s motivation and way of thinking. Also, surveys tend to get a lot of erroneous data from wrongly filled in questions due to misinterpretations , something that could be easier to minimize in an interview form.
Lastly the addition of observation method enables the researcher to maximize the validity of the study by discerning between the participants shown behaviour and the participants’ perception of their behaviour. By requiring participants to play the particular game during the study, relevant data about the participants’ attitude towards the game as well as extra data that indirectly affects the participants’ motivation could be gathered.
The choice was made to utilizing this complex methodology to ensure rich primary data was gathered, but also to eliminate inconsistencies that secondary data brings into a study.
In regard to the role of the researcher in this study, they will be an active observer of the experiment and ask additional questions to gauge on the participants motivations. Through this type of position, the researcher is able to investigate discrepancies that may arise between the words spoken by the participants and their actions in an effective way. Moreover, the researcher has a background that includes a prolonged knowledge of the game included in the study as well as social media theory and mechanics, which limits any misunderstandings when it comes to information relating to older versions of the game. During the study, the researcher strives to not impart their biases about either technologies on the participants, digging deeper only when substantial differences arise in the participant’s discourse.
Data collection and the sample
The sample population has been determined by taking into consideration the number of gamers in Sweden, as well as the principle of saturation determined in previous research on sample size for qualitative studies. According to this aforementioned paper, an ideal sample size for a comprehensive study on average should be 30.
Therefore, the study has been conducted on 32 university students from which 10 were men and 22 were women. All the participants are undergraduates at Jonkoping University, from all years of study and multiple programs, that fell into the targeted age group of 20 to 30 years of age.
The research study lasted over a period of 2 weeks, with a variable number of participants per day.
In order to limit the memory bias of the participants, the subjects were asked to play a mobile game for a couple of minutes before undergoing the interview. The mobile game in question was Candy Crush Saga and the participants played five levels of the game.
The levels were level 1, 11,18,23, 25 and they were chose due to the fact that they contained a comprehensive selection of different main game elements while not being too complex and therefore easy to grasp. This facilitated the process for participants to make a representative assessment of the game.
During the gameplay, a number of participants made game-related comments that were later picked up upon during the interview.
At the end of the game play, the participants answered a series of questions concerning their online habits, the assessment of the game they just played, their stance on games in general as well as social media, social media trends and other personal influencers (family, friends, peer pressure).
The questions were constructed and split into categories in order to gather relevant data in the aforementioned purpose of the study.
Demographic user data
These questions were used to obtain basic user data (age, gender) in order to get a sense of the participant group as a whole and verify that they are a part of the target group. In addition, a general self-assessment of their online and gaming habits was included, in order for the additional data to be put in context (if a participant does not have any social media, it makes sense that they say they are not affected by it).
Level of social media use
How often do you play games?
Mobile games design
With this set of questions the goal was to gather information related to Candy Crush Saga as a game, as well as general preferences that the individuals had. Game elements such as accessibility, usefulness, ease of use, enjoyment and in-game play and design are investigated in order to research the game in the absence on other social factors.
1.4 PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
2 Theoretical background
2.1 SOCIAL MEDIA
2.2 MOBILE GAMING
2.3. SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS
2.4 DIFFUSION OF INNOVATION AND THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
3 Method and implementation
3.1. RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY
3.2. DATA COLLECTION AND THE SAMPLE
3.3. DATA PROCESSING
4 Discussion of findings and analysis
4.1. DEMOGRAPHIC USER DATA FINDINGS
4.2. MOBILE GAMES DESIGN
4.3. SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS
4.4. PERSONAL DECISION-MAKING FACTORS
5 Discussion of Research Questions
5.1. QUESTION 1
5.2. QUESTION 2
5.3. QUESTION 3
6 Discussion of method
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
The effect of social media on the decision-making process