Methodological Strategies to Understand Smartphone Practices for Social Connectedness in Later Life

M. Fernández-Ardèvol*, A. Rosales, E. Loos, A. Peine, R. Beneito-Montagut, D. Blanche, B. Fischer, S. Katz, B. Östlund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Digital practices in later life are not yet well understood. Therefore, this paper discusses the framework for a research design project that aims at tracing differences and similarities in how older adults use their smartphones in circumstances in and outside their homes in Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada. The research questions of this international research project focus on the extent to which digital mobile practices relate to perceived social connectedness among older adults aged 55–79 years old. While studies have shown that the subjective experience of ‘being connected’ supports continued wellbeing in later life, there remains an insufficient understanding of the processes through which digital mediated social interaction is effective for social connectedness. The analytical framework of the project prioritizes the co-constituency of (digital) technology and ageing, and takes digital practices in everyday life as its entry point. The main data collection tool will be the tracking of smartphone activity of 600 older adults (150 per country) during four weeks. An online survey and qualitative interviews will gather data about the meanings of the quantified digital practices, and how they shape (if they do) the participants’ connection to the world. This approach will allow us not only to get insight into what older adults say how they used their smartphone but also to gain insight into their real-life daily use. The assessment of the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses of the methods contributes towards an accurate and appropriate interpretation of empirical results and their implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Aspects of IT for the Aged Population
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Media, Games and Assistive Environments
EditorsJia Zhou, Gavriel Salvendy
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783030220143
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event5th International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population: Held as Part of the 21st HCI International Conference, HCII 2019 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 26 Jul 201931 Jul 2019

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


Conference5th International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population
Abbreviated titleITAP 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Digital practices
  • Interviews
  • Later life
  • Log data
  • Mixed methods
  • Older adults
  • Research design
  • Smartphones
  • Survey data
  • Tracking


Dive into the research topics of 'Methodological Strategies to Understand Smartphone Practices for Social Connectedness in Later Life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this