The aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the use of the Internet among women over 65 years old in Uruguay. This project is part of my PhD dissertation.

The dissertation design combines mixed methods. Based on the theoretical framework of social support and life course (Phillips et al, 2010), a quantitative approach was taken first to identify the variables that impact on the use of the Internet (Caballero, 2014). A logistic regression showed that 65+ women living alone have higher probability of using the Internet than those who do not. Those who have children living abroad and those living with partner at home, have more chance of using the Internet. Age showed the lower -and negative- impact (Caballero, 2016).

Second, an ongoing qualitative approach was taken. A purposive sample was designed using the two categories in Table 1, and a snowball sampling was taken to find participants. I designed two instruments for data gathering: a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview (Robertson & Hale, 2011). The questionnaire includes measures of loneliness; social support; family network composition; subjective health status; satisfaction with life as a whole; and subjective perception of the impact of the use of the Internet on their relationships; as well as socioeconomic indicators. The semi structured interview emulates the logic of life stories by asking participants to introduce themselves, to describe a usual day at the present and to share the story of their life. Specific questions for participants using the Internet were included.

So far, I conducted 23 interviews, 20 of them in a low income neighborhood (see below). More participants who do not live alone and do not use the Internet shall be interviewed.

Interviews already conducted:

  • a- Live alone and do not use the Internet (6).
  • b- Live alone and use the Internet (7).
  • c- Do not live alone and do not use the Internet (3)
  • d- Do not live alone and use the Internet (7)

The inductive logic and the qualitative fieldwork are not guided by the number of interviews, nor is the grounded reasoning (Mason, 2010). So it is time to start analyzing the data gathered up to now to find out which categories emerge from the field, and then continue interviewing following a theoretical sampling process until saturation.

The project expected outcome is the first analysis draft, including a descriptive analysis of the questionnaire data, as well as the profile of the theoretical sample. This information will serve as raw data for a future journal article.

Researcher:
Soledad Caballero, Open University of Catalonia

Funding:
ACT-SSHRC

Research Area:
Telecommunication Technologies

ACT Partner:
IN3, Open University of Catalonia


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