When you join the lab, we will just install a dedicated QoL app on your smartphone. Data collected through this app will be helping us define and refine our projects. Later in time, we will invite you occasionally to our lab for different experiments and we expect that you cooperate in that. It is also important for you to note that every experiment you participate in, is approved by the university ethics committee.
Starting the Study
- You will need to use your smartphone as your primary phone: This is the most basic level of participation we expect from you because our goal of living lab depends on this model of usage.
- Your participation will be largely transparent: Most of the time, at the beginning of your participation in our lab, you will just need to use your smartphone as usual.We will conduct research experiments that do not require any attention from you. This is why we call them background experiments. One example in this category is the network performance measurement study, where we collect performance information from your phone for WiFi, 3G/4G networks. As you can imagine, this information gathering does not require your attention, and your participation is transparent – just using your smartphone normally as your primary phone.
- A few times a month, we will communicate with you through email for important updates related to our operation: Some of these updates might require you to respond and react accordingly (e.g., install a new application, reboot your phone or connect to WiFi for synchronization), but we will keep this to minimum.
- Interactive Experiments: After initial background experiments, we will conduct research experiments that require you to actually use a specific application. This will involve downloading an app and using it regularly while the experiment is taking place. Your participation should involve: 1) Downloading an app from our website and installing it and following the instructions on how to participate in the experiment; 2) Or visiting the mQoL lab, where experiment and participation details will be explained to you; 3) Participating in the study while using the smartphone as usual; 4) Giving feedback to the QoL team via face to face interviews or email (depending on what is requested). Since these interactive experiments require your time and attention, we will limit this type of participation to a few hours a month.
- We also ask for your continuous feedback: Your momentary opinions, experiences and expectations with respect to use of smartphone and its applications matter for our future research directions.
- We will be pushing out software updates regularly to your smartphone: This is an automatic process, but will need your confirmation by asking you to touch a button `Agree` displayed on your phone. If you confirm, then the phone will update the software automatically. The whole process will take around a minute of your time.
- For rare occasions when your phone behaves erroneously: We will provide instructions on how to restart or reset your phone. In the worst case, you might have to come to our lab so we can fix it. However, we are going to internally test our updates thoroughly, and we do not anticipate such problems to occur.
Participant Responsibilities and Expectations
Since the operation of mQoL is part of our research study, we would like to communicate with you clearly about what your responsibilities and our expectations are.
- The above participation is required: If for some reason you do not participate, we will communicate with you to reach an agreement, which may result in temporarily stopping your study participation and getting your smartphone returned back to us.
- The smartphone should be your primary phone: Please be aware that this is critical for our study because one of our goals is a realistic, living lab environment. If you plan to switch between multiple phones, then you are unfortunately not qualified for our research participation.
- The phone should not be flashed with a custom ‘ROM’: This is also critical for our study as we need to keep the same platform for every smartphone. Although Android OS phones allow installing custom OSes called ‘ROM’s, it is not allowed on our smartphones. If you own a smartphone, with which you participate in the study and you have a custom ‘ROM’, please be let us know.
- You are expected to participate for one or more years: The reason why we offer new smartphones for free is because we would like you to participate for a long period of time. As we explain above, you have an option to leave after the first six months; however, our basic expectation is for you to stay as a participant for one or more years. It is going to be fun!
If you join mQoL, the phone we hand out to you is essentially yours. This means that it is your responsibility to manage and maintain your phone just as you would your own phone. You may get a personal liability insurance to cover this phone; in fact your insurance may already cover it – please contact your insurer to make sure if you have it. If your phone gets broken we may replace it depending on our availability of phones. If your phone gets lost or stolen, please provide us with the police report and make sure you get a replacement.