Measuring Multitasking: Methodological Questions in Time Use Research

One can learn a lot about society by knowing how people spend their time during the average day. However, inconsistency in the recording of time use, specifically, in how one records 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. In consequence, one may not know what we think we know about time use, with implications for ‘knowledge’ in a wide range of academic disciplines (and policy areas), including transport. Following a review of the use of the concept of multitasking in selected academic papers and in selected time use diaries, this paper presents examples of popular use of the term, taken from a national (GB) survey. The paper raises important questions regarding the conceptualization and definition of multitasking. It identifies an important gap in the research literature and in the practice of time use research. This illustrates a need for methodological clarification in time use research, to enhance the comparability and reliability of time use studies.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01156953
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0174
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:08AM