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24 Hours in a Day: A Listening Update to the Time Studies

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Time is an important communication variable that has been impacted by new technology and changed the way people communicate. This study of communication time use by college students provides an update to earlier studies by factoring in computer and telephone use—media that have forced a multitasking approach to communication. Undergraduate students (N = 680) at a large Eastern university reported that they spend most of their time (48%) communicating with their friends, followed by time in school, at work, and with families. Students spend 24% of their time listening, 20% speaking, 13% using the Internet, 9% writing, and 8% reading.
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24 Hours in a Day: A Listening Update to the Time Studies
Laura A. Janusik a; Andrew D. Wolvin b
a Department of Communication and Fine Arts, Rockhurst University, b Department of Communication,
University of Maryland,
Online Publication Date: 01 July 2009
To cite this Article Janusik, Laura A. and Wolvin, Andrew D.(2009)'24 Hours in a Day: A Listening Update to the Time
Studies',International Journal of Listening,23:2,104 — 120
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THE INTL. JOURNAL OF LISTENING, 23: 104–120, 2009
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1090-4018 print / 1932-586X online
DOI: 10.1080/10904010903014442
HIJL1090-40181932-586XThe Intl. Journal of Listening, Vol. 23, No. 2, May 2009: pp . 0–0The Intl. Journal of Listening
24 Hours in a Day: A Listening Update
to the Time Studies
24 Hours in a DayJanusik and Wolvin Laura A. Janusik
Department of Communication and Fine Arts
Rockhurst University
Andrew D. Wolvin
Department of Communication
University of Maryland
Time is an important communication variable that has been impacted by new tech-
nology and changed the way people communicate. This study of communication
time use by college students provides an update to earlier studies by factoring in
computer and telephone use—media that have forced a multitasking approach to
communication. Undergraduate students (N = 680) at a large Eastern university
reported that they spend most of their time (48%) communicating with their friends,
followed by time in school, at work, and with families. Students spend 24% of their
time listening, 20% speaking, 13% using the Internet, 9% writing, and 8% reading.
Time as a communication variable has not received as much attention from
communication scholars as it should, especially as American college students’1
use of time has changed so dramatically with electronic gadgets. That change has
had a major impact on the way humans communicate, especially as listeners.
Previous time studies of college students (Barker, Edwards, Gaines, Gladney, &
Holley, 1980; Bohlken, 1999; Davis, 2000; Perras & Weitzel, 1981) have viewed
time as a single entity, describing how students use time in general. However, no
study has ever investigated whether students’ use of time varied depending upon
1“American” is used to denote U.S. American, and does not refer to North and/or South
Americans outside of the United States.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laura A. Janusik, Assistant
Professor, Department of Communication and Fine Arts, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst
Road, 111 Sedgwick Hall, Kansas City, MO 64110-2561. E-mail: laura.janusik@rockhurst.edu
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 105
the context. That is, do students spend more time listening in school than they do
with friends?
Therefore, it can be useful to revisit the studies of communication time
through which communication scholars and educators demonstrate the centrality
of listening and speaking, and to analyze how much time college students do
spend in communication activities in the different contexts of their lives. The
review of literature will cover communication time studies, mass media time
studies, impacts of communication technology, and multitasking.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Research on communication time consistently has demonstrated the prominence of
face-to-face communication as the major channel by which humans communicate in
academic, professional, and personal settings. Results from most time studies (Davis,
2001; Rankin, 1926; U.S. Department of Labor, 1991) corroborate Loban’s (1963)
familiar description of how we use our communication modes: we listen to a book a
day; we speak a book a week; we read a book a month; and we write a book a year.
However, there are challenges with previous time studies, for they are outdated,
though frequently used to justify the importance of teaching listening today. A study
of the 17 most widely used basic communication course textbooks cited Rankin
(1926, 1930) or Barker et al. (1980) to establish the importance of listening (Janusik
& Wolvin, 2002). However, the results from both studies are 38–81 years out of date.
With the increased use of technology, it is unlikely that people communicate the
same way now as they did decades ago. While Barker et al.’s study (1980) did inves-
tigate some communication technology, such as listening to the radio and watching
television, those activities may appear quaint to the technology users of today.
A more recent time study is needed to assess the use of listening in today’s
technological world. To emphasize further the importance of a more recent time
study, a brief overview of past time studies is warranted.
Communication Time Studies
In a landmark study in 1926, Rankin investigated the percentage of daily time
that adults spent in each of the four primary communication modes. His often-
cited results revealed that people listen 42% and speak 32% of their daily
communication time. This contrasts with 15% of their time as readers and 11% as
writers (see Table 1). Though Rankin’s study is laudable and seminal, few recog-
nized that his statistics were calculated based on a sample of 21 adults, including
farmers and housewives, who wrote what types of communication activities they
were involved in every 15 minutes for one day. Thus, his statistics are not
generalizable, especially to a college population.
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106 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
Though other time studies built on Rankin’s work, they also targeted different
nonstudent populations. For example, Breiter (1971) targeted homemakers;
Klemmer and Snyder (1972), Hinrichs (1964), and Weinrauch and Swanda
(1975) focused on business personnel; and Werner (1975) sampled a combina-
tion of students and working adults. These studies, while valuable, are not useful
today because the population is different, and the studies were conducted prior to
the increased used of technology.
Conversely, some communication studies have targeted a college population.
Perhaps the most widely quoted is the one conducted by Barker et al. (1980).
They built their study on Rankin’s work (1926, 1230) and justified the new
study for three reasons. First, previous time studies since 1957 only included
workday time of business personnel. Second, no data on college students were
published. Third, they wanted to investigate whether one’s use of time dif-
fered significantly due to pervasive technology, especially radio and televi-
sion. The study by Barker and colleagues included 645 students, and data were
collected during the spring 1977 quarter at Auburn University. A 27-item
instrument asking participants to remember and record their communication
time in the last 24 hours was developed. The survey was distributed on
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays only to rule out the possibility of
weekend time (see Table 1).
Perras and Weitzel (1981) collected their data from a sample of 113 college
students over a period of two years. Each student submitted a time log for “a
week-day which typically represents your life as a student” (p. 20). Participants
were asked to estimate in 30-minute blocks the communication activities in
which they were involved; however, the total had to add up to 100%. Thus, if a
TABLE 1
Communication Time Studies and Percentages of Time in Communication Activities
A
uthor(s) Population Reading Writing Speaking Listening
Rankin, 1926 Varied .15 .11 .32 .42
Brieter, 1971 Homemakers .10 .07 .35 .48
Weinrauch & Swanda,
1975 Business personnel .19 .23 .26 .33
Werner, 1975 Students, employees,
and homemakers .13 .08 .23 .55
Barker et al.,1980 College students .17 .14 .16 .53
Perras & Weitzel,
1981 College students .14 .08 .03 .15
Bohlken, 1999 College students .13 .12 .22 .53
Davis, 2001* College students .12 .10 .31 .34
This study, 2007 College students .07 .08 .20 .23
*Data on additional communication activities were collected as well.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 107
student was watching television with a friend, the student had to identify the
total minutes of talking to the friend and the total minutes of watching televi-
sion, but that time could not count as both, as the instrument did not permit
multitasking.
Finally, more recent studies include Bohlken (1999) and Davis (2000), though
neither was published in peer-reviewed journals, and both omitted important
methodological details. Davis’s study included a sample of 80 Australian univer-
sity students who kept a time diary for one week. Davis also added the use of the
e-mail, which accounted for 2.1% of the students’ times. Bohlken’s study
focused on a sample of 104 U.S. American college students who kept a time
diary for a week, estimating their communication time in 15-minute segments.
His results specified “mass media,” but it is unclear whether computer time was
counted or not. Both Davis and Bohlken found results similar to Rankin’s (1926,
1930) original study (see Table 1).
Communication scholars were not the only ones interested in humans’ use
of time. Mass media time studies investigated consumers’ use of time with
major media.
Mass Media Time Studies
As communication time studies that included mass media (Barker et al., 1980;
Perras & Weitzel, 1981) demonstrate, the predominant use of listening as a
communication channel takes on added significance when other types of listen-
ing are factored into the profile. Young & Rubicam’s research on American
media usage (Media Capitals, 1996) reveals that the average American spends 7
hours and 54 minutes each day with the major media (newspapers, magazines,
television, radio, Internet, and public sites such as billboards). Nielsen estimates
that the average American TV household is tuned into television as much as 8
hours and 11 minutes a day (Nielsen Media Research, 2005). The average week-
day time spent listening to radio is estimated to be three hours (Radio Television
News Directors Foundation, 2001). Another major mediated channel that con-
sumes a great deal of people’s time is the Internet. In 2005, 78.6% of Americans
were reported to be online an average of 13.3 hours a week (USC Annenberg
School, 2005).
Today’s traditional college students represent the first generation that has
been raised in an environment of extensive media technology (Weissman, 1998).
From birth, these individuals have been exposed to technology that was not
invented in previous generations. It is estimated that 99% of those under 18 years
old in the United States use the Internet, probably because of its availability in
school, though many students have access at home as well (Jesdanun, 2006).
By 2005, 90% of adult students had access to a computer, whether at home or
in the workplace (Bash, 2005). Attitudes toward media vary with the different
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108 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
generations, as adults view the Internet as a tool to accomplish tasks, such as pay
bills or research information, while students, the younger generation, view the
Internet as another media channel (Weissman, 1998).
Today’s traditional students have access to more mass media than any other
generation in history. At what cost is this access?
Impacts of Communication Technology
The impact of the use of time is considerable, especially as American society has
become increasingly mediated. Internet technology, for instance, has changed the
way individuals gather information, interact with others, and organize their time
(Cotten, 2001). David Brooks, writing about how people have time to do every-
thing except think, suggested that we are addicted:
Multitasking, checking your e-mail, operating at peak RPMs; you’ve become
addicted to wireless life—and it has a cost. (2001, p. 71)
However, the decision to use technology in school is not always a personal one,
as the introduction of technology carries various assumptions. For example, in a
physical chemistry class in the late 1990s, only slide rules and pencils were
permitted during tests. However, permission to use the pocket calculator was
introduced in the second semester, though no formal instruction was given on the
device. Use of calculators did not save students time because homework prob-
lems and tests lengths were increased significantly. Students quickly learned that
in order to be successful, they not only had to know how to solve the problems,
but they also had to know how to solve the problems quickly and correctly by
using technology (Bergeron, 1998). Had the number of homework problems and
lengths of tests remained the same, then perhaps students would have felt that
technology was an advantage. In this instance, some students were forced to use
technology because their peers did, and because the professor changed the com-
position of the test to allow for, and sometimes even require, technology.
Simply because technology seems to be encouraged in school, does that mean
that students will choose to use it in other areas of their lives as well? The impact
of communication technology on our use of communication time is considerable.
This becomes especially significant as technological advances enable the fusion
of the channels so that a cell phone can be used for text messaging, viewing
video, taking photos, surfing the Internet, and maintaining a calendar. This fusion
of channels establishes an ongoing circular process between the Internet and
other media, leading to what Fortunati (2005) describes as “a sort of
co-production and spread of information at a trans-medial level” (p. 42). Not only
are students adept at acquiring and learning fused technology, but they also are
adept at multitasking.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 109
Multitasking
Only recently has multitasking with media become an issue, and its impact is
just beginning to be assessed by social scientists and educators (Wallis,
2006). In fact, multitasking is said to be one of the most dramatic shifts in the
way children communicate, with one-fourth to one-third of children stating
that they use two or more media simultaneously “most of the time” (Wallis,
2006).
In addition, a significant number of adult media consumers multitask, using
various forms of media at the same time. The American Press Institute’s study
(2004) of media use revealed that 74% of people regularly or occasionally watch
TV and read the newspaper at the same time, while 66% regularly or occasion-
ally are online and watching TV at the same time. As people wait for Internet
downloads, 52% report that they listen to the radio, while 61.8% watch televi-
sion, and 20% read the newspaper. It is clear that the amount of time people
spend in mediated communication is a major dimension to be considered in a
study of communication time.
An additional consideration in investigating use of time is permitting for
multitasking, which most other communication time studies forbid. Certainly,
reporting of time is made more challenging by multitasking, but multitasking
is a reality for this generation. Not only is multitasked time more difficult to
report, but it also complicates the measurement of time used as well (Jordan et
al., 2005). However, it is critical to capture time in as realistic a sense as pos-
sible, so the decision was made to account for multitasked time in this study.
Justification for this Study
The previous communication time studies have provided valuable and, in many
respects, surprisingly similar results (Table 1). As with any research, they have
limitations that this present study seeks to rectify in light of the media time
research that illustrates the effect of mediated communication on communication
behaviors today. First, like Barker et al., (1980), technology advances have been
significant since 1980, so this study investigates communication time spent by
college students with the important addition of the personal computer. Second,
Perras and Weitzel (1981) excluded the reporting of multitasking, even though it
is prevalent in our current society. This study permits students to report multi-
tasked time. Third, previous communication time studies of college students
focused strictly on weekday time. However, with the increased use of technology
and students working part-time and full-time jobs, the lines of weekday and
weekend often blur. In fact, most mass media time studies do not distinguish
between weekday and weekend time. Thus, this study included time reported on
weekend days.
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110 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
As indicated, previous communication time studies of college students only
allowed for technological advances through 1980, which did not include the
computer. In addition, previous studies did not permit participants to report time
multitasking and accounted for weekday time only. A final justification for this
study is that previous communication time studies have targeted different popula-
tions, but none targeted the same population in various contexts. For example, do
college students spend as much time listening at work as they do in school? Do
college students use the computer more for school or socializing? This study
seeks to rectify these questions by selecting one sample population and assessing
time spent in various communication activities across four contexts: school,
work, family, and friends. Through it, we attempt to create a more accurate,
realistic profile of communication time for undergraduate communication majors
at a large mid-Atlantic university.
Research Question and Hypotheses
In every communication time study involving colleges students, listening was the
most widely used communication activity on a daily basis (Barker et al., 1980;
Bohlken, 1999; Davis, 2001; Perras & Weitzel, 1981; Werner, 1975). Despite the
increased use of communication media (e.g., telephones, Internet),
H1: Students will spend more time listening than any other communication
activity.
Because this is the first communication time study to investigate one group’s
use of communication activities in a variety of contexts, there is no published
research. Thus, the following research question is posed:
RQ1: How will students’ use of time differ in the contexts of school, friends,
work, and family?
The average American household has three television sets (Nielsen
Ratings, 2003), and the average American television is turned on for 8 hours
and 11 minute daily (Nielsen Media Research, 2005). However, this current
college generation identifies the Internet as another media channel, and they
“make virtually no distinction between the Web and television” (Weissman,
1998, p. 2). If students are not distinguishing the Web as different from televi-
sion, and this is the first generation that has had access to both the Internet and
television since childhood, then
H2: Time spent on the Internet will be equal to or greater than time spent
watching television.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 111
METHOD
Participants
Participants were 680 undergraduate students enrolled in a basic communication
course at a large mid-Atlantic university. A total of 703 participants returned
their survey instruments; however, 23 participants failed to complete the
instrument correctly, thereby rendering them unusable. The final sample of 680
participants included 360 females and 312 males, with 8 participants not declar-
ing a gender. The mean age was 19.09 (SD = 1.240). Ages ranged from 17 to 28
(SD = 1.210). Most students (n = 379) were not employed; 26 students reported
working full-time and 275 part-time. The majority (n = 430) reported no family
time. Students received extra credit in exchange for their participation.
Power and Sample Size
Following the guidelines of Kraemer and Thiemann (1987) and Cohen (1988),
sample size was calculated. For an undergraduate communication major population
of 1,200 students, a sample size of 565 was needed to provide a .01 level of signifi-
cance and .95 power. This sample size in this study exceeds the sample needed, and
all usable responses were included. Thus, the results will be generalizable only to
the undergraduate communication major population of this university.
Procedures
During classroom visitations, a research assistant invited basic communication
course classes to participate in a research study concerning communication time.
Those who chose to participate were given an informed consent form and a copy
of the instrument (Appendix A). Each class of participants was assigned a
specific day of the week (Sunday through Saturday), and asked to write it on their
instrument. Participants were asked to recall their communication activities on
their most recent assigned day. By assigning an equal number of all seven days,
this study estimates an “average day” in the life of an undergraduate communica-
tion major. Participants then were asked to estimate the amount of time they
spent in each of the four contexts: school, friends, work, and family, and to
estimate how much time was spent in each of these activities: writing, reading,
speaking, listening, television, radio, CDs/tapes, telephone, e-mail, and the
Internet. Because the instrument was detailed, participants were asked to com-
plete the instrument at home and return it to the research assistant the next class
period.
Though self-report has been cited as unreliable (Woelfel & Fink, 1980), the
Case Institute study (Case Institute of Technology, 1958) demonstrated that
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112 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
self-report data collection was a reliable technique for time study estimations.
However, the time investment of observation for a study this large, coupled with
the desire to find a sample average, far outweighed the problems of self-report-
ing, so self-report was determined to be the best data collection method.
Instrumentation
An instrument was developed for this study (Appendix A). To make reporting
easier for the participants, a scale was placed beside each activity, and the scale
was labeled between Never and 9+ Hours. The scale was interval; students could
indicate any amount of time from 0 to 9+. Students were asked to place an X on
the scale to represent the amount of time spent in that activity in that specific
context. Note that the instrument does not prohibit multitasking.
RESULTS
First, data were inspected for usability. The instrument developed for this study
permitted multitasking, which has been known to confound previous time studies
(Barker et al., 1980; Davis, 2001; Klemmer, & Snyder, 1972). However, this study
employed the estimation methods used by Klemmer and Snyder (1972) and Nielsen
Media Research (Ohlemacher, 2006), a technique that normed multitasked time to
100% (Klemmer & Snyder, 1972). For the purposes of this study, both the total
hours and percentages will be reported. Table 2 represents the average of overall
daily hours and corresponding percentage of time spent in communication activities.
For statistical calculations, all variables that did not meet the assumptions of
normality were transformed to meet the assumptions. All transformations neces-
sary were achieved through square root or log transformations.
Hypothesis Testing
The first hypothesis, H1, listening will remain the most widely used communication
activity, was supported. An ANOVA indicated that participants spent significantly
more total time listening than any other communication activity (see Table 3).
In addressing the research question (RQ1), as to how students’ use of time will
differ in the contexts of school, friends, work, and family, descriptive statistics
were calculated for each context. A full reporting of the average daily communica-
tion hours and percentages of time by context is reported in Table 4. Because the
number of participants who reported working and spending time with their families
was small, statistics were calculated only for those responding. Thus, the mean
hours and mean percentages used the base of 242 participants working and 216
participants spending time with families as opposed to the full data set of 680.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 113
Because of the number of students who worked (n = 242) and/or spent time with
their families (n = 216) was significantly lower than the total sample (N = 680),
direct statistical comparisons will not be made.
When viewed in sum independent of context (Table 5), most of the partici-
pants’ communication time, an average of 9.54 (48%) hours per day, was spent
with friends. This was followed by school, 6.95 hours (35%). Little time was
spent working or with the family.
TABLE 2
Average Daily Hours and Percentage of Daily
Time in Communication Activities–All Contexts
Daily Hours Daily %*
Writing 1.63 .09
Reading 1.44 .08
Speaking 4.05 .20
Listening* 4.70 .24
Television* 1.71 .08
Radio* .588 .02
CDs/Tapes* .911 .04
Telephone 1.48 .07
E-mail 1.11 .05
Internet 2.47 .13
7.91 .41
*Daily % is derived from total time reported in
each activity summed, and then divided by the total
time reported for each context. This is consistent
for all table calculations.
TABLE 3
Listening Compared to Other Activities
Activity Degrees of
Freedom (df) F
Writing 52, 627 3.63**
Reading 52, 627 1.46*
Speaking 52, 627 12.98**
Television 52, 627 2.55**
Radio 52, 627 3.38**
CDs 52, 627 3.12**
Telephone 52, 627 4.72**
E-mail 52, 627 1.98**
Internet 52, 627 1.45*
*p < .005; **p < .01.
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114 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
The second hypothesis (H2) posited that time spent on the Internet will be
equal to or greater than time spent watching television. Total time across all four
contexts in terms of television viewing and reported Internet use was tested with
an ANOVA. Results showed a significant difference; participants used the Inter-
net (M = 1.40, SD = .71) significantly more than watched television (M = 1.09,
SD = .73); F (50, 629) = 2.01, p < .001. As results in Table 2 indicate, partici-
pants watched television 8% of their communication time but devoted 13% of
their communication time to Internet use. If one were to factor in e-mail with
Internet use, then percentage of time on-line would be 18% across all contexts.
TABLE 4
Average Daily Communication Hours and Percentage of Time by Context
School Friends Work* Family**
Hours%Hours%Hours%Hours%
Writing 1.15 .22 .24 .03 .55 .11 .14 .01
Reading 1.00 .20 .22 .03 .48 .08 .17 .03
Speaking .75 .14 2.33 .29 1.45 .27 1.42 .30
Listening 1.75 .35 2.08 .26 1.31 .24 1.24 .24
Television .40 .07 1.02 .12 .13 .02 .74 .09
Radio .18 .03 .29 .03 .21 .03 .14 .01
CDs/Tapes .26 .04 .52 .06 .20 .03 .18 .02
Telephone .27 .05 .87 .11 .41 .08 .16 .19
E-mail .36 .06 .59 .08 .24 .04 .28 .05
Internet .82 .15 .82 .15 .51 .10 .04 .06
*Statistics are calculated only for the 242 participants who reported working.
**Statistics are calculated only from the 216 participants who reported spending time with their
families.
TABLE 5
Average Daily Communication Hours and
Percentage of Day Context
Daily Hours Daily %
School 6.95 .35
Friends 9.54 .48
Work* 1.91 .10
Family** 1.64 .08
*Of the 242 working students, they spent
5.04 daily hours at work or 22% of their time.
**Of the 216 students who spent time with
their families, they spent 5.12 daily hours with
their families or 21% of their time.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 115
DISCUSSION
This study investigated students’ use of time in the four context areas of school,
friends, work, and family, and across various communication media. One
research question and two hypotheses were proposed for this study. The research
question addressed how students’ use of time might differ in the contexts of
school, friends, work, and family.
Within the communication contexts, students spent the most time with friends,
9.54 hours per day, or 48% of their reported time. This was followed by time in
school and working on school activities, accounting for 6.95 hours per day, or
35% of their time. The 34% of students who were employed spent about five
hours a day at work and utilized all communication media. The 38% of students
who spent time with their families spent an average of 5.12 hours daily in
communication activities with them.
Previous researchers have investigated the use of time in the four major
communication activities—reading, writing, speaking, and listening—and three
studies have extended beyond those areas by including listening to mass media
(Barker et al., 1980; Bohlken, 1999; Perras & Weitzel, 1981) and e-mail usage
(Davis, 2001). This study goes beyond these previous studies by adding the Inter-
net and telephone times, as well as investigating use within specific contexts.
However, when reviewing the four major communication activities and compar-
ing them to the previous studies, there are items of interest. First, listening does
retain its position as the most widely used daily communication activity (24%),
while speaking remains in the second position (20%). As Table 1 indicates, with
all previous communication time studies, face-to-face communication accounts
for the most time spent communicating. However, the total percentages of speak-
ing and listening combined (44%) have decreased significantly, and this is the
first time that the combination has dipped below 50%. The decrease is important
to note, as students are opting to replace face-to-face time with other mediated
communication activities such as the Internet.
In addition, with the exception of the investigation of business personnel
(Weinrauch & Swanda, 1975), this is the first time that writing was found to be
used more widely (9%) than reading (8%). It is interesting that the shift appears
more significant in reading than in writing. Previous research cited reading time
as high as 19% (Weinrauch & Swanda, 1975) and as low as 10% (Brieter, 1971),
though the populations were different in these studies, as the former investigated
business personnel and the latter investigated homemakers. When comparing to
the same population as college students, this study’s report of 8% time spent
reading is more than a 50% decrease from the other studies that found 17%
(Barker et al., 1980), 14% (Perras & Weitzel, 1981), 13% (Bohlken, 1999), and
12% (Davis, 2001). In addition, the decrease in writing to 9% was not quite as
drastic, and it remained consistent with Werner (1975), who studied a mix of
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116 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
people including students, and close to another population of college students at 8%
(Perras & Weitzel, 1981) but lower than the other three college populations at 14%
(Barker et al., 1980), 12% (Bohlken, 1999), and 10% (Davis, 2001). Results do not
suggest that students are becoming an oral society, but it may suggest that they are
becoming a more mediated society. One could argue that some of the Internet time
is reading and writing time, as it is now almost impossible to delineate the two.
If students’ communication time has decreased in all four major communica-
tion areas previously tested (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) where,
then, are students spending their communication time? When reviewing the data
from mediated communication activities, listening to mediated communication
channels accounts for the most time (Table 2). Students spend 8% of their time
watching and listening to television, 2% of their time listening to the radio, and
4% of their time listening to CDs and tapes, accounting for 14% of their time.
When factoring in the use of the telephone (8%), which involves both speaking
and listening, the total percentage increases to 22%. The impetus for Barker et al.
(1980) to replicate the time study was driven in part by the need to investigate
students’ use of time listening to radio and television, which accounted for 20.4%
of students’ time. Today’s students used both of those 10% of the time, but when
factoring in CDs and tapes, it increases to 14%, which falls slightly short of
Barker et al.’s findings. However, this study was conducted prior to the extensive
popularity of the iPod, and the authors suspect that the 14% figure would
increase with this innovation in addition to an increase in multitasking.
Students’ use of e-mail also has increased to 5% of the time compared to the
previous finding of 2% (Davis, 2001). This study is the first communication time
study to report use of the Internet alone, which accounted for 13% of student
time. In fact, this study indicates that adolescents now prefer e-mail and Internet
activities over television viewing (Kaiser Family Foundation, 1999) and listening
to the radio (La Ferle, Edwards, & Lee., 2000), both of which formerly held the
primary positions. Perhaps the Internet is viewed as another mediated channel
(Weissman, 1998), and students are becoming more savvy in their selection of
the communication medium (Arnett, 1995; La Ferle et al., 2000). For example, it
is likely that some of the Internet time in the school context is devoted to research
(Davis & Douglas, 1995). However, it is interesting to note that 15% per day is
spent in school Internet work, and an additional 15% per day is spent with friends
and dedicated to the Internet. This use of friends’ time excludes e-mail, which
accounted for .59 hours (8%) of time with friends.
While it is true that listening did retain the primary communication activity
used on a daily basis, it is important to note that that it is largely due to the school
context. In fact, in all other contexts, participants reported speaking slightly more
than listening. Thus, continued instruction in listening and speaking is still critical.
Perhaps more instruction should be given in Internet use as well, as its application
in the contexts of school, friends, and work accounts for 10–15% of their time.
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24 HOURS IN A DAY 117
Often, students concede that they are overwhelmed by their access to knowledge
and only look at the first few “hits.”
In terms of the Internet and television, this is the first generation to grow up
with both mediums; thus, it was hypothesized and supported that they would
spend more time with the Internet (13%) than with television (8%). What
becomes even more interesting is inspecting the time allocations by context.
Students spent more time with the Internet, excluding e-mail, in all contexts
except family time, where television viewing accounted for 9% of the day and
the Internet accounted for 6% of the day. However, when factoring in e-mail to
each context, total computer time always exceeded television time. Thus, the
personal computer is a communication channel that has quickly established its
importance with today’s college student.
Limitations and Future Research
It might be fair to call this an historical study because data were collected and
analyzed prior to the overwhelming popularization of cell phones and iPods as
the major communication channels for college students, and before instant mes-
saging and social networking sites increased in popularity and use. Data also
were collected prior to instant messaging and social networking sites becoming
popular. This is significant because, over the last few years, instant messaging
has grown exponentially, with 48% of teenagers using instant messaging on a
daily basis (Lester, 2006). In addition, cell phones for the first time in history
have outnumbered landline phones, with the dramatic increase caused by young
adults and children who have their own phones (Grossman, 2007). Thus, in a
sense, time studies including technology are outdated prior to publication
because of the length of the peer review process. However, time studies still are
important to gain more current information on how students spend their time than
the studies used in today’s literature (Barker et al., 1980; Rankin, 1930).
A second limitation is that the instrument did not clearly state if reading and
writing were to be considered strictly paper-related activities or if computers
could be involved. As with the previous time studies, operalization was left to the
participant, though it is clear that future time studies need to be more specific,
particularly due to the fusion of technology. Thus, it is not known how that
distinction might affect the reading, writing, and Internet totals. However, it is
quite likely that the fusion of electronics and its ability to spread information
(Fortunati, 2005) will make times studies like this obsolete. For example, with
the introduction of the iPhone, consumers have one product where they can
speak, listen, watch movies, check the Internet, and send e-mails.
A third limitation includes the ability to generalize the results, as these results
are applicable only to the undergraduate students enrolled in the basic course at
this large mid-Atlantic university. While the total sample size was relatively
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118 JANUSIK AND WOLVIN
large (N = 680), data were collected only from students at this school. Future
studies should attempt to investigate both traditional and nontraditional students
in different parts of the United States as well as other countries.
Finally, though self-report has been used successfully in communication time
studies (Barker et al., 1980; Bohlken, 1999; Case Institute of Technology, 1958;
Werner, 1975), it is not always a reliable method by which to gain data, so obser-
vation may have been more accurate. Participants clearly multitasked, and data
analysis attempted to account for this. Multitasking was cited as a concern in
previous time studies (Barker et al., 1980; Davis, 2001). However, reliable disci-
pline-specific procedures have not been solidified. Thus, results are based on per-
ceived time spent as opposed to actual time spent.
CONCLUSION
Not surprisingly, student communicators spend a considerable amount of
time communicating through mediated communication channels and less
time communicating in face-to-face interactions. Communication as a human
communication process has changed to accommodate the electronic world of
the 21st century. Consequently, communication scholars and educators
should consider the impact of mediated communication in the development
of models and competencies that account for the effects of these popular
electronic channels.
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APPENDIX A
Note: This is a portion of the instrument developed for the study
Question 2: School Communication
Please estimate the total amount of time you spend in school or doing school
work on your assigned day: ____
Now estimate the amount of time you spend in school or doing school work
on your assigned day in each of these communication methods.
Writing: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Reading: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Speaking: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
(Face to face) Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Listening: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
(Face to face) Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Telephone: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
E-mail: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Internet: |--------|---------|----------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|----------|-----------|------------|
Never 1 Hour 2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours 5 Hours 6 Hours 7 Hours 8 Hours 9 + Hours
    
Downloaded By: [Janusik, Laura] At: 18:50 23 July 2009
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The authors evaluate the role of listening among managerial levels in several business organizations. The study expands upon the often quoted 1927 Rankin study by analyzing the amount of time spent in listening and other communicative functions. The data are broken down by days of the week and the time of the day. These results provide justification for the inclusion of listening in the traditional business com munication curriculum.
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THIS 7-YEAR LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF THE LANGUAGE SKILLS OF 338 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, SCHOOL CHILDREN UTILIZES A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF BOTH THE SEMANTIC AND STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE. A SPECIFIC METHOD OF LANGUAGE ANALYSIS HAS BEEN SHAPED. THE "SEGMENTATION" METHOD OF ANALYSIS USES SEVERAL TYPES OF SENTENCE SEGMENTS. A "PHONOLOGICAL UNIT" IS JUDGED BY THE CONTOURS OF INFLECTION, STRESS, AND PAUSE IN THE SUBJECT'S VOICE. A "COMMUNICATION UNIT" IS IDENTIFIED BY THE SEMANTIC MEANING WHICH IS BEING COMMUNICATED. THE "MAZE" IS A TANGLE OF LANGUAGE WHICH DOES NOT MAKE SEMANTIC SENSE. A WIDE RANGE OF LANGUAGE PHENOMENA CAN BE SILHOUETTED AND MEASURED AGAINST THIS SEGMENTATION GRID. COMMUNICATION ABILITIES INCREASE THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF WORDS IN THOSE UNITS. THE INCIDENCE OF MAZES AND NUMBER OF WORDS PER MAZE DECREASES IN CHILDREN WHO ARE RELATED AT THE KINDERGARTEN LEVEL. WHAT IS DONE TO ACHIEVE FLEXIBILITY WITHIN THE LANGUAGE PATTERN PROVES TO BE A BETTER MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS AND CONTROL OF LANGUAGE THAN SENTENCE PATTERN ITSELF AT THE EARLY AGES. THE MOST PROFICIENT CHILDREN ALSO MANIFEST THE HIGHEST DEGREE OF SENSITIVITY TO LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS, THAT IS AGREEMENT BETWEEN SUBJECT AND VERB. POSITIVE CORRELATIONS WERE FOUND BETWEEN GENERAL LANGUAGE ABILITY AND READING ABILITY, WRITING ABILITY AND SOCIOECONOMIC POSITION, VOCABULARY AND INTELLIGENCE (HIGHEST), AND HEALTH AND LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY. COMPETENCE IN SPOKEN LANGUAGE IS APPARENTLY BASIC FOR COMPETENCE IN READING AND WRITING.