Survey of Cell Phone Use Among College Students

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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Elaine Long


The purpose of this project was to evaluate classroom cell phone use by students at Boise State University and to investigate the relationship between cell phone use and current course syllabi cell phone policies. A convenience sample of 126 participants was recruited from the Boise State University College of Health Sciences student population. Surveys were administered in seven classroom settings during November 2009 with instructors’ permission. Participation was voluntary and each participant was given the option to decline, withdraw from the survey, or leave questions blank. After agreeing to participate in the survey, respondents were given a paper questionnaire. Once the surveys were complete, the survey administrator collected the surveys and results were coded. Students were asked various questions regarding how often they use their cell phones in a classroom setting as well as policies in place in their classes regarding cell phone use. Students reported using their cell phones in class, with 55% of students sending an average of one text message per class period. Additionally although 85% of students are aware of classroom policies that prohibit cell phone use in the classroom, over half of the students did not adhere to these policies. Results from this study suggest that although many students find cell phone usage distracting to themselves or others, classroom cell phone policies do not deter cell phone use. In conclusion, this study identified cell phone usage patterns among Boise State University College of Health Sciences students and their perception of what is appropriate cell phone behavior in the classroom. The study also provided insight into changing cell phone behavior at the college level. Further investigation of this topic is needed to insure that cell phone use, especially text messaging, does not negatively impact classroom learning and behaviors. This study was approved by the Boise State Human Subjects Research and Institutional Review Board #193-10-024.

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