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The Dana: Making Granularity Possible

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Learn more about how we conduct our observational researh: Observational Method Observational Method
Insight and Research uses custom-programmed software that runs on "smart keyboards" (small laptop-like computers running the Palm OSTM) to collect data for its observational research. This software duplicates the functions of a paper media log but reduces most of the observer's logging tasks to stylus taps on the screen to activate buttons or select menu items.

The program was designed specifically to enhance the ability to record concurrent exposures to multiple media and to automatically capture data at a highly granular level in five- to 15-second increments.

The hardware and software system increases the observer's ability to keep up with complex and rapidly changing behavior. The software allows easy logging of location (home, car, work, or other) and the start and stop times of life activities and exposures to a wide range of media. Because observations are recorded directly to computer files, the time-consuming and error-prone step of manual keying of handwritten data is eliminated.

Trained observers shadow participants throughout a typical day recording their media consumption across all platforms both in and outside of the home. In addition to media usage, observers record life activities, providing unique contextual data in which to consider media consumption.

Center for Media Design
Arts and Journalism Building, Room 205
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. during the academic year, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. during the summer
Phone: 765-285-0123
Fax: 765-285-0124
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