This post will give an overview of the process of designing the survey, which would be distributed to social network users to help us understand how social networks are used.
The purpose of conducting this survey is to investigate how people use social networks, what motivates them to post and show their activities in these networks, and consider how they communicate with people they may not necessarily know in real life about shared interests. The survey is divided into two sections: the fist on identifying the difficulties of social networks, and the second on identifying the type of content that is shared on social networks.
The first section is designed to understand the difficulties that the participants face in using social networks. It focuses on forums and four of popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Path and YouTube. These five social networks were chosen because we found that there is a lack of a central place which contains different types of rich media content (e.g. comments, video, audio and photos) whilst allowing people to have different ways of interaction.
LeapIn.it aims to solve this problem by introducing rooms that include all types of rich media that relate to specific products, places or events. For example, using current social networks, if a person wants to find information about a specific event or topic, he/she can find photos in Instagram, videos on YouTube and text-based comments in Twitter but not all of them in one system.
Moreover, since there are different ways of accumulating the social activities that are related to the same topic in those networks (e.g. hashtags in Twitter and Path, Facebook groups and YouTube channels), the survey hopes to identify the shortcomings of these and measure the level of difficulty that people are facing when using them. This will inform the design of our virtual world which will address this problem. Below are the questions of the first section, the first three questions use a Likert scale to measure the level of difficulty that the participants are facing while the forth is an open-ended question intended to encourage personal reflection:
The second section is intended to investigate the type of content that participants post in social networks (e.g. photos, videos, tweets or both), how frequently they post these and the factors that motivate them to post in the first place. For instance, the survey will consider how some people want to share their expertise, whilst others might want to profit through financial means from the content of their posts.
LeapIn.it, as a result, establishes three types of stakeholders: the users who post content in the rooms, those who consume or view that content, and the companies which post information about their products. Therefore, it is important to understand the reasons that encourage people to post in order to reflect these considerations in the design phase of our project; through this it is hoped that we will establish a successful business model.
Below are the two questions that are included in the second section, all of them use a Likert scale to make it easier for the participants to fill the required information, rather than to write the answers. It also enables more accurate information about the frequency of posting in social networks:
The survey is intended to collect data from a random sample of students studying at the University of Southampton; as such their ages must be 18 years old or over. Since our social network is intended to serve the general population without focusing on specific kinds of users, it is possible to address a random sample of participants directly. Those participants derived in this sample may or may not use social networks.
The survey includes six questions only, in order to maximize the number of participants who are willing to take it. It is estimated that the survey will not take more than 10 minutes to complete. Additionally the survey doesn’t collect any personally identifiable information and the participants will not be contacted about their responses. Participants will be provided with a link to a page where the results will be published.
The University Ethics Committee, ERGO, approved this research. The documents supplied to them are below:
Link to the survey
The survey can be found here.
Edited by: MJD