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A Meta-Analytical Review of Empirical Mobile Usability Studies

Constantinos K. Coursaris and Dan J. Kim

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 3, May 2011, pp. 117 - 171

Article Contents


Through systematic procedures of coding, recording, and computing, a meta-analysis is an organized way to summarize, integrate, and interpret selected sets of empirical studies (Glass, McGaw, & Smith, 1981; Lipsey & Wilson, 2000).  The meta-analytical review for this study began with the search for empirical mobile usability studies literature from the year 2000 through 2010. To this end, we used multiple databases to minimize the chance of omitting relevant studies. We continued with cross-referencing the references of the retrieved studies. Hand searching of appropriate journals in this research included journals ranked among the top 10 in terms of perceived quality, as well as journals deemed relevant to the field of usability by the authors. Specific criteria were set for the selection of articles sought in this literature review: (a) a mobile technology was studied, (b) the study was empirical in nature (see footnote 1 of the Literature Review and a Mobile Usability Framework section), and (c) the time frame for included studies was from 2000 through 2010. A conscious decision was made to not limit the reviewed literature to peer-reviewed journal articles, as it would significantly reduce the reviewed articles, given the relative infancy of the mobile usability field. The above procedure resulted in the identification of 100 empirical mobile usability studies. An earlier analysis of the first 45 studies retrieved was presented at a conference in 2006 (Coursaris & Kim, 2006); while most statistics were not reported in that publication, the same analysis was performed on both samples (i.e., studies up to 2006 vs. all 100 studies retrieved by the end of 2010, so as to observe scholarship trends in mobile usability between the two temporal reference points.


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