Keith N. Hampton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, and an affiliate member of the Graduate Faculty in Sociology at Rutgers University. His research interests focus on the relationship between new information and communication technologies, social networks, democratic engagement, and the urban environment. Today we discuss his project, “Social Interaction in Public Spaces: A Longitudinal Study.” The goal of this study is to understand change in the social life of urban public spaces over the past 30 years, using visual content analysis.

“This is truly the only way to do a longitudinal study of public space. We can hang out in a public space for months, or maybe even a year, but doing that for two or three decades is simply impossible. So, for any large scale, longitudinal study of urban public spaces, I think this is probably the only method that is available to us.”
– Keith Hampton – 

In this episode, we talk with Naomi Sugie on using smartphones to collect data from research participants. Naomi is an Assistant Professor of Law, Criminology & Society at the University of California-Irvine. She shares findings from a study of recently released prisoners as they seek for work in Newark, New Jersey.

“Smartphones are exciting data collection tools. They can collect real time data on peoples’ experiences while they are going about their every day lives. Smartphones have their limitations, but they open up a whole new area of research and the ability to just document peoples experiences. They can expand the realm of empirical investigation for researchers to consider questions and ideas we just weren’t able to think about before, using other methods.”
– Naomi Sugie-