Title page for ETD etd-11092011-115925


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Palmer, Cydney Lauren
Author's Email Address cydneypalmer@gmail.com
URN etd-11092011-115925
Title There's an App for That: The Ways Young Adults Access Digital Information
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jeong, Yongick Committee Chair
Porter, Lance Committee Member
Sanders, Meghan Committee Member
Keywords
  • uses and gratifications
  • privacy
  • smartphones
  • mobile apps
  • Internet
  • browsers
Date of Defense 2011-11-02
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Despite the popular use of smartphones and mobile applications (apps) and their potential impacts in the near future, only scant academic attention has been paid to mobile apps, especially in respect to the gratifications sought from accessing digital information via apps. This exploratory study investigated the relationship between young adults and their use of mobile apps in accessing digital information, particularly in comparison to the current go-to digital information access device, Internet browsers. In addition, this study examined how levels of perceived privacy concern influence digital information use and how the use of digital information access modalities and the level of privacy concern interact in seeking digital information.

To examine these relationships, this study conducted an online survey with 201 young adults, and the data were analyzed using a two-way mixed repeated analysis of variance (ANOVA). The independent variables in this analysis were digital access modality (Internet browsers and mobile apps) and perceived personal privacy (high and low). The dependent variable in this study was digital information use, measured in five frequent purposes of accessing digital information: information, communication, convenience, entertainment, and commercial/purchase.

This study found significant main effects of digital access modality in using digital information. The results indicate that young adults are likely to use Internet browsers more than mobile apps for gratifying their purposes, except for a convenience purpose for which mobile apps were more likely used. However, the degree of perceived personal privacy was not found to be directly associated with the use of online information. Similarly, the interaction between digital information access modality and perceived privacy toward online information use was not significant across five purposes.

In summary, the use of mobile apps was surprisingly large, and the gap between the two digital accessing modalities was not remotely distant. Based on this finding, it can be projected that mobile apps will become a primary device for young adults to access digital information in the near future. Regarding perceived privacy, before concluding the given results, more research should follow to gain a better understanding of the role of perceived privacy in digital information use.

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