Telephone conferences for fun: experimentation in people’s homes

  • Andrew F. Monk
  • Darren J. Reed
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 241)


The paper illustrates how communication experiments may be carried out in a domestic recreational context. Participants situated in their homes were connected into group telephone conversations and simply asked to “chat and enjoy yourselves”. Following the conversation, participants provided Likert scale ratings of the experience. In addition, the conversations were recorded and analysed. A total of 211 participants took part in two experiments. Telephone groups had an average size of five people, each speaking in the same conversation from their individual homes. Comments from the participants and Likert rating scales indicated that it was a positive recreational experience. The primary manipulation in each experiment was intended to encourage spontaneous co-involvement of all of the group. In Experiment 1 this was done by changing the way participants were introduced to the group, in Experiment 2 the group was made more salient by providing each member with a list of names. Open ended responses obtained from telephone interviews with participants in Experiment 1 were used to construct a questionnaire for Experiment 2 to measure presence, involvement and communication efficacy. The measures extracted from transcripts included the average length of utterances and equality of contribution as well as a new measure, the number of lines to the first “flow episode” in the transcript. While neither of the manipulations produced significant effects on Likert scale ratings made after the sessions or the measures extracted from transcripts, the paper is able to recommend the measures used and to provide practical advice for other investigators seeking to run communication experiments in a recreational context.


Group Size List Condition Conversational Analysis Likert Scale Rating Primary Manipulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew F. Monk
    • 1
  • Darren J. Reed
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Usable Home Technology (CUHTec)University of YorkUK
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of YorkUK

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