What do we mean by multitasking? - Exploring the need for methodological clarification in time use research

Kenyon, Susan (2010) What do we mean by multitasking? - Exploring the need for methodological clarification in time use research. Electronic International Journal of Time Use Research . ISSN 1860-9937. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


We can learn a lot about society by knowing how people spend their time during the typical day. However, inconsistency in the recording of time use, specifically, in how we record details of people's participation in more than one activity at a time ("multitasking"), may be preventing full understanding of how people use their time in their everyday lives. It is not clear what "we" - as academics, survey designers and participants - mean by "multitasking". This may be affecting the reliability and validity of recorded multitasking. In consequence, we may not know what we think about time use, with implications for "knowledge" in a wide range of academic disciplines and policy areas. This paper begins by presenting examples of popular use of the term "multitasking", taken from a national (GB) survey, illustrating a diversity of undertaking of the term amongst participants. Next, analysis of selected time use diaries highlights the impacts of this diversity in meaning for inter-participant and inter-survey consistency and therefore for reliability and validity. Finally, the paper raises a number of questions regarding the meaning of multitasking, with reference to its conceptualisation in selected academic papers. The paper identifies an important gap in the research literature, illustrating a need for methodological investigation in time use research, to enhance our understanding of the meaning of multitasking and therefore to enhance the comparability, reliability and validity of time uses studies.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: JEL-Codes: Z13,J22
Uncontrolled keywords: Marriage, time use, Bangladesh, gender, leisure, work introduction
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Paula Loader
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2010 11:50
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2014 08:26
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/26028 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):