If you are allowing participants' to use their own Smartphones then you're likely to be addressing a wide range of questions from participants. Each make/model/version of Apple and Android phones works slightly differently. In the Troubleshooting section we provide as much information as we can to support you in answering the questions you get from participants. However, please be aware that you are using their phones to perform functions they were not designed for.
Smartphones were not designed for collecting research grade data. The mEMA app was written to allow researchers to collect data from widely available consumer devices. Because of that there are certain things we can not control on a consumer Smartphone. For instance:
- Both the iOS and Android operating systems have "critical regions of code" that we can not write around. For example, an incoming phone call will always take priority over a mEMA notification if they both happen to come at the same time.
- Both the iOS and Android operating systems (OS) manage resource allocation in ways we cannot control. If the OS needs processing power for something categorized as higher priority (e.g. phone calls, streaming videos) than an app (such as mEMA) running in the background can and will be shut down. Thus, if you leave mEMA open in the background when you come back to it you may find it has been shut down by the OS and you need to re-open it.
Each participant's phone will operate slightly differently. mEMA runs on both Apple and Android phones. Both platforms have various models of phone and in the case of Android phones are made by a wide range of different manufactures. In addition, each phone will be capable of running different versions of the OS (e.g. iPhone 4 will not run OS 11). And participants can update their OS on varying schedules so even two phones running iOS 11 may be running different subversions (e.g. 11.2.1 or 11.2.3 etc.). When gathering information for participants about their phone it is often useful to know:
- Which platform do they use? Apple or Android?
- Which type of phone / tablet are they using?
- Which exact version of the OS are they running?
Additionally, each participant will use their phone in different ways. Some may have very little storage left, some may use it to listen to music and watch videos while others only use phone and SMS. And of course phones allow users to change settings (e.g. turning off location services) that we have no control over.
Each of these factors won't affect how the app functions in general but might affect how it functions in some moments.
Reference the User Guide and Troubleshooting Sections
We provide a User Guide when you begin using mEMA which you can give to your users. The Troubleshooting section of the Help Desk should also help you answer most questions your users ask you. However, if you need more help please do not hesitate to reach out by submitting a Support Ticket.