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For communications consumers, the challenge of overcoming information overload to choose a new product and service is sometimes just too much. As one participant in the Seeking Straight Answers research puts it, "[I just want] someone to do the work, someone who knows what they're doing to find me the best deal...There's so many things you've gotta do that the inconvenience of doing all that outweighs any benefits you're going to get".

This short video premiered during the keynote address by Dr. Paul Harrison at the 2011 ACCAN National Conference, and was launched as part of the Seeking Straight Answers research undertaken by ACCAN and researchers at the Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations at Deakin University.

 

One of the methodologies employed was an extended autoethnographic methodology, where participants recorded video diaries of their search for a new smartphone. Rather than asking participants to reflect on their decision-making, researchers asked them to document the experience by carrying a small video camera. The research sheds light on the role of telecommunications in participants's lives, and how they make decisions about the products and services they use. Participants revealed that they often found the amount and poor quality of information regarding available products and services overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating. Many participants found it difficult to compare products, and resorted to coping strategies such as delegating the decision to a friend or salesperson, using comparison websites, staying loyal to their current provider, or just giving up. 

In the current context of reforms to consumer protections in the telecommunications industry, the Seeking Straight Answers research goes to the heart of consumer relationships with their telecommunications providers to examine why consumer decisions in the market so often result in issues down the track. It helps us to gain insights into two broad areas: How are consumers navigating the telecommunications market, specifically in relation to experiences with confusion, information overload, and determining value and risk, and how can they fare better?

Read the full report here.

For more information, or to receive a hardcopy of the Seeking Straight Answers report, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.