Recruiting Participants via Social Media

Doing users studies is fascinating, once you get to the point of actually talking to the participants. But the step before, on recruiting them, can be a pain!
This (long) post is in response to Danny’s experience on recruiting using Facebook and Twitter ads. A couple of weeks after he did his recruitment ads, I asked him advice on how to reach a broader sample when snowball sampling and traditional word or mouth (i.e. posting for free on any social media and sending out emails) was not enough, and he recommended trying out Facebook and Twitter ads.

For my study I had to recruit English-speaking participants for an interview study on the use smartwatches, which could take place in person or on Skype. Users could therefore live anywhere in the UK. Because the Twitter ad did not lead to any participant signing up, I will focus this post on my experience with Facebook ads and at the end of the post there are some useful take-home considerations.

So I created a Facebook ad (you can see Danny’s post for a step-by-step process on how to). The ad linked to a website, where people had to complete a recruitment survey, before they were contacted to take part in the interview. Here you can see a summary of my recruitment criteria and some overall results:


Reflecting on my physical activity

A story about technology, built environment, and social media

Ever since I started my PhD I got into the Quantified Self (QS) movement and having my boyfriend doing his PhD on understanding how physical activity is impacted by the use of activity trackers has made ever so more interested. I started off tracking my steps, then my productivity (using RescueTime), my sleep, my emails, and my food.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 22.41.26Most of these things I’ve tracked only for a short while (from a few weeks to a few months), enough to gain some sort of epiphany, or ‘digital epiphany’, which usually was something like “right, now I know more about how I behave, and this is no longer so interesting”. While I might start tracking my emails or productivity again in the future, just to touch base again on my way of working, I have been sort of consistent in tracking my physical activity so I thought it would be interesting to think about it a bit more in depth.

When studying behaviour change, I realised how important reflection was particularly in the initial stages of change, but also in later stages, given that behaviour change is not a linear process. So here is me being reflexive on my physical activity, around the QS movement.


Working 9-5?

Getting in the mood for Seoul and CHI2015, in less than a week! Here’s the video preview of my talk, which will be on Thursday 23rd, from 2.30pm in room 403:

Bright Club – part 2

In January I took part in another stand up comedy event, organised by Bright Club, as part of UCL Public Engagement Dept. This time it took place at Bloomsbury Theatre, in front of almost 500 people!! Needless to say I was very nervous! You can have a look at my performance Read more…

CHI 2015 paper

The paper on my first study has been conditionally accepted at CHI 2015 in Seoul, South Korea! The research I present is about email behaviour across different devices, across personal and work domains and across different professional groups. Seeing as the program of the whole conferences is “Crossing Boundaries” I’m quite excited to present Read more…

Socio-Technical Systems and Work-Home Boundaries Workshop

Below you can find my post on the Digital Epiphanies blog about the workshop that was organised during MobileHCI. My paper “I check my emails on the toilet”: Email Practices and Work-Home Boundary Management” was presented by my supervisor, Dr Anna L Cox, as I was attending the Doctoral Consortium at the same time.

On Sept. 23rd 2014 we held the “Socio-Technical Systems and Work-Home Boundaries” workshop during MobileHCI conference in Toronto, Canada.
This workshop was one of the outcomes of our Digital Epiphanies project, in an effort to open up the discussion to a broader range of researchers in the field of technology and work-home boundaries. Among the attendees were human-computer interaction (HCI) specialists, social scientists, and sociologists.
The workshop was divided into three parts: first, all papers were presented (see the workshop program for the list of papers), each followed by a short Q&A session.


Why you should do a Doctoral Consortium

In May my supervisor tweeted me the link to the MobileHCI Doctoral Consortium (chaired by Stephen Brewster and Keith Cheverst) and at that point I had no idea what a DC was. But, being as curious as I am and always trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, I decided to apply. I wrote the paper in a couple of hours, got some quick feedback and submitted it. A few months later I received my acceptance email. 
By then I learnt that a DC is an opportunity to
  1. talk about your research,
  2. get feedback from experts who are not directly involved in your research, but have a good understanding of the broader area, and
  3. network with peers (but not only). All this in a supportive but critical environment.
This is what you find out when you search for Doctoral Conosortium and gather information from the various websites. What I didn’t realise is how useful this actually is.


PhD Showcase at UCLiC

This is an internal event of my department to get all PhD students to talk about their work. First year students present a poster in a 3minute madness session, second year students give a longer presentation on their progress (10 minutes) and third year students have the option of how to present their work (talk or poster). Supervisors and research staff are then encourage give feedback to each student.

Here you can find some pictures from the event:  (more…)

Visiting Microsoft Research, Cambridge

This week I visited Microsoft Research in Cambridge for a 2.5 day workshop on how to build a successful career in research and get to know more about the work that goes on in these labs.

It has been a fantastic opportunity to learn hands on about Azure, but also find out for example how computing can be used to cure cancer, capture medical imaging and predict bio-models. I had no idea Microsoft Research covered so many different topics related to computer science! We also got very good tips and tools to on how to write a paper, think strategically, present data and do interdisciplinary research.  (more…)