SILS Students Present Research at Rutgers iSchool Research Invitational

November 19, 2014

UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) students Vida Djaghouri and Eun Jeong Cheon were recently selected to present their original research at the Rutgers iSchool Research Invitational. The event, held October 17-18, invited master’s students chosen from a competitive applicant pool to share their work with fellow students and to learn more about furthering their research in a PhD program.

The title of Djaghouri’s project is “Gender, Personality and their Effects on Avatar Selection for Online Video Game Environments.” At the poster session, Djaghouri presented a description of her topic, methods, and hypotheses.
“I conducted a survey in which participants customized an avatar to use in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG),” she said. “I also assessed their Big Five Personality traits and Self-Esteem levels to see if there are any correlations between gender, personality, and the way people choose to represent themselves online.”
Djaghouri’s research was inspired by her own passion for video games, and by a prior study which sought to identify predictors for behaviors related to self-representation with human avatars in online gaming.
“I felt I could add to this study by replicating it and including popular, non-human avatars,” Djaghouri said. “Further, this summer there has been widespread controversy over misogyny and harassment in videogame culture, called ‘Gamergate,’ so the research felt very topical.”

Cheon’s research, titled “Studying on the Interplay Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivationin the Use of Activity Tracking Devices,” is an investigation of the uses of wearable health and fitness tracking devices and the extent to which user motivations promote or are created by wearing such devices.
According to the project abstract: “Although a few studies have focused on the use of fitness tracking devices, we know little about, how users’ existing motivations can be complemented by motivation created from the device, and how interplay between motivation arising from the device and preexisting motivation of users may lead users to use the device over an extended period of time. The empirical research presented here raises our understanding of the multidimensional nature of motivation that shapes the long-term use of technology and its effects. This work also generates a useful set of design implications on how to improve the usability of wearable devices, which can guide future developments of similar technologies.”
Cheon’s project stemmed from her interest in the ways people interact with technologies in their daily lives, particularly in regard to manners in which such interactions motivate positive behaviors. During her research, she was able to develop her interests by working together with SILS professor Dr. Mohammad Jarrahi on a project examining the use of Fitbit activity tracking devices.
Cheon and Djaghouri feel that the poster session provided an invaluable opportunity to network with other students and inspire further research.
 “Meeting students from other esteemed information and library science programs around the country and learning about their research was illuminating,” said Djaghouri.
“It was a great experience for me to meet passionate master’s students from other iSchools,” Cheon said. “I got very good feedback from faculty and PhD students in the Rutgers iSchool. It made me come up with good ideas for the next research.”