“Feeling appy?”: Using App-based methodology to explore contextual effects on real-time cognitions, affect and behaviours.


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7 Citations (Scopus)


It is certainly not revolutionary to suggest that where we are and who we are with – one’s environmental and social context – impact the way we think, feel and act. Indeed, Social Psychology has for years extolled the importance of social contexts on affect, cognitions and behaviour. Nonetheless, many traditional research methodologies fail to account for such contextual factors when examining human behaviour (Baker, 1968). That is, traditional psychological research findings are typically the product of retrospective self-reports or experimental manipulations, as opposed to reports of the experience in context, as lived (“in-vivo”). Thus, there are a wide range of psychological research traditions which would benefit by employing alternative methodologies to provide further evidence of contextual influences on psychological concerns. Within this chapter, it is argued that technology, specifically Smartphone technology, offers researchers the capacity to conduct increasingly dynamic research and to collect vast amounts of contextually aware data. To aid in this overview, the authors talk generally about the value of Smartphones Applications (Apps) for research purposes, before drawing upon two example areas of research to further illustrate the utility of these alternative research methodologies: the assessment of alcohol consumption and related cognitions (c.f. for example, Monk & Heim, 2014; Monk, Qureshi, Price, & Heim, 2015) and digital gaming experiences (c.f. for example Kaye, 2016; Kaye & Bryce, 2012, 2014). In each instance, the important, yet largely hitherto unanswered research questions will be highlighted, as well as the potential utility of Smartphone Apps in such areas. The goal of this is not to suggest that these are the only areas of potential use. Rather, this chapter is intended to highlight, using specific examples, how technology may be used in the pursuit of knowledge across Psychology (Brown et al., 2014). The strengths, important considerations and potential pitfalls of such research are also outlined. We will argue that Smartphone-enabled research provides a more ecologically valid and contextually aware perspective on psychological constructs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDoing research in and on the digital: Research methods across fields of inquiry
EditorsCristina Costa, Jenna Condie
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2018


  • Sociology


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