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Rachel Rasmussen

Journal Article Critique

Emanuel, R., Adams, J., Baker, K., Daufin, E., Ellington, C., Fitts, E., et al. (2008). How College Students Spend Their Time Communicating. The Intl. Journal of Listening, 22, 13-28. How Students Spend Their Time Communicating describes a study conducted on the title topic, specifically concerned with changes in the communication of college students in relation to technological advances. The goal of the study was to discover if new technology positively, neutrally, or negatively affects face-to-face interactions of college students. Constantly improving technology causes this to be a pressing issue in communication, which is why the authors commenced their research on the topic of how students spend their time communicating. They were especially interested in college students because these college students are the first generation to grow up in a world of technology. To effectively discern the answer to the question of what effect new technology has on college students, a study was done by a survey completed by 21,000 students. A variety of students were surveyed, including those from public, private, and community institutions. The surveys comprised of twenty short answer questions, taking less than five minutes to complete. They were distributed in classes during the week to assure responses representative of typical days. When the results of these surveys were evaluated, it was found that the average day of communicating was 13.38 hours. Of these hours, listening was the prominent activity, requiring 7.41 hours (55.4%) of a college students day. Media listening, to television or music, occupied over half of all listening time (50.4%), while interpersonal listening, including class, face-toface, and phone calls occupied the rest of that time (49.6%). Speaking was only 2.29 hours of the

Rachel Rasmussen

Journal Article Critique

communicating day (17.1%). College students read daily for 2.16 hours (16.1%), and time spent writing was 1.53 hours (11.4%). These results show some change from various previous studies. For example, one important difference is the amount of time spent listening to media has increased. This may be due to the increased portability of music and media. Overall, the study shows that college students are still communicating; new technology has not reduced communication. It has, however, changed the way they do communicate. Mediated communication is increasingly becoming the norm. In my opinion, this article clearly and concisely presented a well-administered but elementary study. The survey sampled a variety of college students and asked the questions necessary to get basic information about the topic. It was not a particularly thorough study, as it only used one form of research (a short survey). More comprehensive questionnaires could have been used to obtain more information about how new technology affects the way college students communicate. Another thing to consider would be how effectively college students communicate, and how they use new technology to increase their effectiveness in communications. For these, it would be helpful to consider other aspects of how college students communicate, instead of only taking into account the amount of time spent communicating. Also, continuous observation of college students and how they communicate would provide valuable insight into this issue. In conclusion, the survey was helpful to provide a base of information, but needs more extensive research to fully answer the question of the effects of new technology on the communication of college students.