Sampling mobile opinion: A contextual postcard questionnaire study

Jeff Axup, Stephen Viller

Abstract


Understanding requirements of mobile communities is challenging because of their geographical distribution and frequent movement. We present a study of backpackers travelling in Australia which utilizes a research method called contextual postcard questionnaires. The method uses brief, open–ended questions to solicit contextual responses from backpackers that are relevant for development of tourism and mobile communication technologies.
Eight hundred postcards were distributed via hostels and a travel agent, questioning travellers about their current situation. Questions asked how they had heard about their present location, what kinds of virtual–graffiti they would leave there, and what their greatest worry currently was, among others. Results indicated that backpackers have a great deal of practical and serious concerns to contend with as they travel. They are physically cut off from family and friends and rely on a range of communications media to stay in touch and exchange emotional support. They have a great deal of practical travel experience that would be useful to other travellers, but which is currently only conveyed haphazardly via word–of–mouth. Practical usage of the contextual postcard questionnaires is discussed and design recommendations for mobile group products are offered.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v11i9.1402



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