Study — A Tethered World: Exploring Mobile Information Habits of University Students Around the World

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"I felt that I had a better relationship with my phone, than with people around me. I felt like I was taking better care of THAT relationship, than the one of the person in front of me." — Student Participant



A Tethered World evaluated the mobile habits of students of 52 nationalities, attending universities in eight countries, on three continents.  Researchers had the 800 students track their mobile use over a 24-hour period this past spring 2012.  Following the day-long tracking, the students completed an in-depth survey and wrote a 500-word narrative about their media habits.

Essential Question

In Spring 2012, 800 students representing 52 nationalities from 8 Universities on 3 continents participated in a 24-hour mobile information tracking exploration and reflection to answer the question: How have mobile technologies changed the information habits of a tethered world?


A Tethered World was designed to explore the information habits and dispositions of university students’ mobile phone use (consuming, sharing, reading, publishing, expressing, etc.) Three general research questions guided the study:

  • Q1. How have mobile technologies influenced the information habits of university students around the world?
  • Q2. What similarities and differences exist in university students’ use of mobile technologies for information purposes?
  • Q3. How do university students conceive of mobile technologies role in their daily lives?


The "Tethered World" blog for further information about the study and its findings.


This study is copyrighted by Paul Mihailidis ©2012. Please direct all inquiries to