Sculpting a Master’s Thesis

Tough to realize, but in the last couple of months, I spent quite a lot of time on writing, sculpting and vagabonding over a single page of text; i.e. the abstract of my master’s thesis.

In retrospect the process of gradually sculpting it has even been quite helpful. Not only did it help to communicate the gist of it to friends and colleagues to develop and discuss ideas. Primarily it served as a mental scaffolding to define the scope of the research project, while keeping track of what is being done, how and why of course.

As usual I was looking around how others performed on writing an abstract for their project and found it quite helpful to look at their work. Returning the favor of sharing attempts on this, please have a look on my attempt on…

Summarizing the master project

The need to increase physical activity is a burden to many. In order to encourage physical activity with the help of technical mediation, related research has taken a wide variety of promising attempts to support individuals in facilitating and sustaining healthy lifestyles. When it comes to offering valuable clues about personal performance though, the problem space of providing motivational feedback is characterized by a lack of substantial techniques and strategies that assure to affect an individual user effectively.

To address the present issue this study investigated the problem space of applying negative reinforcement into an ubiquitous computing environment to examine potential opportunities as well as drawbacks of applied persuasive conditioning strategies to encourage physical activity. A qualitative approach has been taken to investigate the present problem space after the applica- tion of negative reinforcement into an intervention design accompanied by an observation phase lasting two weeks time. Post to the observation phase, interviews have been conducted with eight participants followed by an analysis based on the combination of Grounded Theory and the Transtheoretical Model of behaviour change as an underlying theoretical framework for investigation.

With regard to the current discussion within related fields of research about the effective application of negative reinforcement, this study found appreciation of its application based of several design factors, which will be presented and elaborated over the course of this paper. As a result this study aims to emphasise on the general potential to incorporate a wider set of conditioning strategies into application designs to support their overall persuasive effect. In the way these strategies are understood to naturally shape desired behaviour, potential design space is supposed to institute to similar application areas as long as these strategies follow design considera- tions that align to their target audience in the most elegant manner and in particular aim at the provision of efficiently graspable feedback.