Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


As technology continues to grow and flourish, research methods are being adapted to take advantage of the many benefits online methods can offer. Compared to traditional methods, online methods tend to be cost and time effective, increase feelings of anonymity for participants, and reduce human error through prevention or accommodation. Mobile research methods—online research conducted through mobile devices using email or application technology—represent the newest frontier in online research methods, presumably increasing convenience for participants and accessibility to daily life for researchers. As with any new method, however, researchers must find the best way to engage with participants while weighing the pros and cons of the method. Mobile methods have not received critical attention in this way, despite the increase in research applications. Through examination of the extant literature and solicited feedback following an experiential sampling method study completed primarily using mobile methods, the current paper provides the perspectives of participants and researchers about utilizing mobile methods for research. We then synthesize those observations and end with a list of proposed best practices for use in future applications of mobile research methods. The primary takeaways include practicing caution in assuming the convenience of mobile research methods and the need for further examination of the limits and boundaries of the technology used. The promise is great, but the pitfalls are plentiful.