Cell phone use and relevance to students major in universities

Topics: Cell Phones


Technology is a way of life in this generation and we cannot even start to imagine a world where we do not have access to it. It is the best outlet to use for gathering information and communicating with people from all around the world but, are there scenarios where cell phone use can be more harmful than helpful? For example, in a university setting cellphones are a big distraction. Especially if students use their phones while they are supposed to be engaged in lecture.

In this study the researcher will try to identify if relevance of class to a student’s major plays a role in how much student use their phones in class.

Day in a day out in the classrooms cellphones are being used while lecture is going on. It is no surprise that with how much people are attached to their phones it is almost impossible to set it down even if just for an hour.

As a result of these behaviors students have seen a decline in their ability to stay focused on lectures using their cell phones up to 11 times at for each class (McCoy, 2013). In other studies researchers have collected data on how much multitasking in the classroom by using your phone affects your overall GPA and your ability to make actual connections with your professors and classmates. These findings have proven that not only is using your cellphone in class for non-school related reasons hurtful to your GPA but it is also hurting your ability to concentrate (McCoy, 2013).

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Furthermore, what does this say about a student’s ability to focus and, what are some of the contributing factors to students use of cellphones in the classroom? The purpose of this study is to further prove the results of past studies on this topic by adding another level to the independent variable and that is does relevance to ones’ major play a role in how much a student uses their cell phone if at all during lecture, and if it does what is the reason behind this?

Statement of the Problem

Most professors hate the fact that students use their cell phones during lectures. Not only does it make the instructors upset because it is rude but no one likes to talk to themselves and repeat themselves more than twice simply because your audience was too distracted. In Universities however students might need to take several classes that have nothing to do with their major. This is why the researcher believes that it is important to take class relevance to ones major into account when measuring cellphone use in universities. The basic method of handling this would be to have rules when it comes to using phones in class for example get point deducted on assignments or ask students to put away their phones but this might not be effective all the time.

Purpose of the Study

Students continue to use their phones in class even if the professor states otherwise. This is more true of university students. With classes normally being bigger in size it is not always easy for the professor to pin point those who are not paying attention and punishment has never really rendered good results when it comes to getting an adult to do something that they don’t want to do. (Katz &Lambert, 2016). Because of this it is important to take into account the relevance of the class to ones’ major after conducting an observational experiment we realized that most college students would use their phones more in classes that where not related to their major no matter what their classification was.

Research Question/ Hypothesis

Does class relevance to ones’ major have an effect on how much students use their phones in a particular class?When taking a class unrelated to their field of study students will use their phones more than when taking a class pertaining to their field of study.


The classroom should be a place where students can interact with their professor and fellow classmates and where focus is crucial in order to succeed in class. In Universities today students take their cellphones with them everywhere including the classroom. This affects their ability to focus and while there are measures that can be taken to exclude cellphones from the class all together like confiscation or leaving them in a locker this is something that is not possible at college level. Most students 95% bring their cellphones to class for reasons not related to lecture  (McCoy,2013; Tindell & Bohlander,2012). When students where asked why they brought their cellphones to class (89%) said texting, email (68%), social networking (66%), web surfing (38%) and (8%) said games, approximately 11 times per school day (McCoy). There have been several studies made where professors have asked students to leave their cell phones in their desk at the beginning of class and in doing so you’d earn a point every time you decided to participate (Katz; Lambert, 2016). There is a lot of literature relating to this topic and how to get rid of cellphones use because it may cause distraction (Ellis, Daniels, & Jauregui,2010); retention and comprehension (Gingerich & Lineweaver, 2014) and negative affect on grades and GPA (Burak, 2012; Duncan, Hoekstra, & Wilcox,2012).

All these articles and experiments only talk about how we can stop students from using their cell phones or how to intergrade cellphone use into the classroom  but still one thing that was never taken into consideration was does the relevance of this class to a student’s major have anything to do with how much the student uses his or her cellphone during class? In this experiment the researcher would like to see if class relativeness to a student’s major has anything to do at all with how much students use their cellphones in class.


The researcher be recruiting a group of thirty freshman/sophomore students and thirty junior/senior students who are psychology majors and put them both through two classes for two weeks.One class will be about a random topic like history or geology and the other will be a class relative to their major. One week the students will not be told they cannot use their cellphones they will just go through the lecture and they will be told that they will be tested on what they learned at the end of the week. The next week will consist of the same procedure except this time the students will be told they cannot use their cellphones they will go through lecture and also be told that they will be tested at the end of the week.


The materials used in this experiment will be pen, paper, spss to calculate results.

Research design

The thirty freshman/sophomore and thirty Junior/Senior students will be randomly selected into their different groups. This experiments calls for use a between groups analysis, specifically a two way anova to check for significance in the difference between all groups. The four groups being.

1.Psyc class and no cellphone,

2. Psyc class and cellphone allowed,

3.Other class and no cellphone,

4.Other class and cellphone allowed.

Cellphone use will be measured  by observation and tally scores in which the each time cellphone use is being used  counts as ‘1’, The researcher will then add the results for each group in total (not by participant) , total score for control and total score for experimental. Once the results are put together from both classes we will be able to confirm if classification plays a role in how much a student uses their cell phone in class no matter what the subject or if it is the subject that causes the students to be uninterested and use their cell phones.


When students take classesin the summer it is hard for them to obtain extra credit. By participating in this study students will not only receive extra credit towards their classes but at the end of the experiment there will be a raffle of $20 visa cards to three students. The students participating in this experiment will be Texas A&M International University students (Psychology Majors) with an average age of 19-25 with some possible outliers.

Planned Analysis

The researcher will be using a between groups analysis to calculate my results/ 2way anova to check for significance between the two groups. It is hypothesized that students will use their cellphones more in classes with subjects not related to their major.


  1. The relationship between cell phone use and academic performance in a sample of u.S. college students. Sage Open, 5(1). doi:10.1177/2158244015573169
  2. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0098628316662767 Burak, Lydia (2012) ‘Multitasking in the University Classroom,’ International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 6: No. 2, Article 8.
  3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2012.060208 Duncan, D. K., Hoekstra, A. R., Wilcox, B. R. (2012). Digital devices, distraction, and student performance: Does in-class cell phone use reduce learning? Astronomy Education Review, 11, 1–4. Google Scholar, Crossref Ellis, Y., Daniels, B., Jauregui, A. (2010).
  4. The effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. Research in Higher Education Journal, 8, 1–10. Google ScholarHttp://www.ije.ir/Vol29/No5/B/4.pdf. (2016).
  5. International Journal of Engineering,29(5).  Katz, L., & Lambert, W. (2016). A Happy and Engaged Class Without Cell Phones? It’s Easier Than You Think. A Happy and Engaged Class Without Cell Phones? It’s Easier Than You Think,43(4)(340), 345th ser., 1-5. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0098628316662767.
  6. Exploring the relationships between college students’ cell phone use, personality and leisure. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 210-219. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.006 Lim, S. (2014).
  7. On students’ absent presence: Cellphone use and teaching practices. The National Teaching & Learning Forum, 23(6), 7-9. doi:10.1002/ntlf.20021Tindell, D. R., & Bohlander, R. W. (2012).

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Cell phone use and relevance to students major in universities. (2021, Dec 08). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/cell-phone-use-and-relevance-to-students-major-in-universities/

Cell phone use and relevance to students major in universities
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