Big Brain of Ideas

I always wonder how other people study. Do they scroll through Facebook with a textbook open near by like I do? Do they blast a ‘study motivation’ Spotify playlist in the background? Or do people actually disconnect themselves from the online world for a while. Is it even possible to study without checking your social media every 10 minutes?

These questions form the basis of my chosen topic for my digital narrative research project.

“How do students engage with personal mobile devices when studying?”

To provide me with a greater understanding of what a digital narrative is, I did some background reading. According to Chase (2016), a digital narrative combines photos, videos, sounds, music, animation, text and a narrative voice to create a story. A digital narrative does not necessarily need to include all of these things, although telling a story using multimedia is the core idea (Robin 2016).

In terms of my project proposal, I intend on engaging in ethnographic research to obtain my data. I aim to look into the study habits of students at university and the interaction they have with their mobile devices. I intend on collecting qualitative data that provides me with an insight into their social media habits, attention spans, tendency to check their phone whilst studying, and the duration of the study period.


I will be selecting a small pool of participants from my BCM240 class to take part in my research project. I aim of focusing my study on 10 students in total. I will be tracking the study habits of these students over a two week period and gathering qualitative  data via interviews, surveys and observations.

As the project is a digital narrative I will be creating a video that focuses on selected participants in their studying environment and how they interact with mobile devices and social media apps. The aim of the video is to capture students acting as they normally would when studying to determine how frequently attention is diverted and how often mobile devices are used. I will be including this video on my final project blog as well as other data I collect from the surveys, interviews and observations.

Engaging in this project will allow me to gain an understanding of how media practices and audience experiences are spatial in nature. It will provide me with an insight into a topic that is of great interest to me and generate a storytelling project that looks at media audience practice from the perspective of other students.

I intend on posting regular updates on how my project is progressing as well as commenting on any issues I may encounter and any changes I intend on making along the way. I still aim to provide the results of my findings even if my research project does not go to plan. Overall it will be a learning experience for me and provide me with a greater understanding of media practices and the experiences of the audience participating.

Until next time,


Chase, D 2016, Digital Composition, Storytelling & Multimodal Literacy: What Is Digital Composition & Digital Literacy?, Stony Brook University Libraries, viewed 13 September 2016, <;.

Robin, B 2016, About Digital Storytelling, University of Houston, viewed 13 September 2016, <;.


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