Walsh EI, Arundell MJ and Brinker JK
Purpose: Text messaging (Short Messaging Service, SMS) is ubiquitous in Australia. It may prove a cheap and convenient method allowing bidirectional communication between participant and psychological researcher. A strength of applying SMS as a research tool is its inclusiveness, as it may be used to communicate with both hearing and deaf participants. This paper explores how the Australian deaf community engages with SMS, and how this engagement may be applied to using SMS to communicate with deaf participants in a psychological research setting.
Methods: Sixty six hearing impaired participants aged 20-89 years, ranging from moderately to profoundly deaf took part by way of questionnaire (paper, online text, or online Auslan translation). At the end, they had the option to provide their mobile number and be sent a questionnaire via SMS.
Results: Most participants owned mobile phones, and used SMS daily. 60% believed that using SMS for research is a good idea. However, this did not translate into volunteering to participate in research using SMS – of the half who provided their mobile telephone numbers for subsequent participation, there was only a 17% response rate. Pearson's Chi-squared tests, Spearman's correlation, and logistic regression did not reveal any significant differences between those who did and did not offer their mobile telephone number in terms of mobile ownership, daily SMS usage, degree of deafness, or confidence with written English.
Conclusions: Though many indicated willingness to participate in research via SMS by providing their mobile numbers, a very low response rates to SMS questionnaires indicates that SMS may not be the most engaging method for research with this sample.