RESEARCH INSIGHT ▼
WHEN KNOWLEDGE BECOMES RESEARCH
DIANA KLOSE CO-CREATED AN IQ-APP TO SURVEY KNOWLEDGE
Name: Diana Klose
Occupation: Doctoral Student at the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences
Research Interests: Smartphone-based assessment, Intelligence assessment (esp. declarative knowledge), Psychometric modeling
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▐ Our doctoral student Diana Klose has, in cooperation with the University of Ulm, developed the IQ-App with which users can explore the depth of their knowledge through an IQ test, a personality test and a general knowledge test - all for free and from the comfort of their own home or on the road.
The researchers, in turn, anonymously collect the user data to gain insight into what knowledge is comprised of. The project mainly aims to answer two questions: Is IQ testing on mobile devices even a viable alternative to more 'classical' testing? and: What is knowledge comprised of? In Psychology, childrens' and youths' intelligence have been extensively researched and it is clear that, at this age, knowledge is very homogeneous primarily due to similar schooling. Less is known about the composition of knowledge in adults however.
To fill this research gap, the IQ-App was developed primarily by Psychologists and is thus based on relevant theories and concepts. Compared to commercial apps, the data collected is used exclusively for scientific purposes and will never be passed on to third parties.
The user therefore profits from scientifically funded questions, the immediate disclosure of differentiated results in the areas of IQ, general knowledge and personality and the completely anonymous collection of data. The IQ App is, however, also a great tool to explore the composition of one's own knowledge - to delve into new areas of expertise, to learn more about interesting topics and to explore unknown territory.
The IQ-App (only available in German) can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store and App Store. Further information can be found on the website of the app.◼
AN INTERVIEW WITH DIANA ON HER RESEARCH PROJECT
How did you get involved in this project?
D.K. We tied this project into previous works. We had read a dissertation that concluded that knowledge in general is a very important topic but we actually know very little about it. Then we thought about how we can use modern technologies to help close this research gap. That is how we came up with the idea to turn the research into a game in an attempt to reach more people.
What interests you most about the app?
D.K. I think it's very accessible. It amazes me that people immediately understand what I'm doing so interesting discussions arise constantly. It is a topic that is of immediate interest to everyone and at the same time also very tangible. There are many people that like to play quiz apps or watch 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' on TV every Monday night so this topic and format appeals to them as well. Other areas of research often need a lengthy introduction for people to understand what it's about and why it's important.
What is the scientific side all about? Which questions are you aiming to answer?
D.K. There are two main questions we aim to answer. First: Is it even possible to measure knowledge in a psychological context with the use of an app? And second: Is it possible to gain a viable insight in this way or are we gathering large amounts of data that have nothing to do with knowledge? That is the methodological side: Is what we're doing meaningful? Content wise we are trying to find innovative solutions to address unanswered questions about knowledge. In this context we are focusing on, for example, the dimensionality of knowledge in adults. We know quite a lot about knowledge in young adults. Here, knowledge is a relatively homogenous factor due to similar schooling. We can assume that, for example, a child that is good in geography will be good in history or languages as well. The theories also predict, however, that when we graduate high school and specialize in different areas, our knowledge begins to split up. As of yet, we don't have any data to substantiate this theory. This is exactly the data we are attempting to collect.
What is special about this app? Why should users work with it again and again?
D.K. The primary reason to choose this app over others is that it is scientifically sound. We didn't just randomly choose questions; they are based on psychological theory and cover a wide variety of subject areas. On top of this, the app is free and all user data is handled absolutely anonymously. We aren't a commercial app where users have to fear that their data will eventually be sold to other providers; we use the data solely for research purposes. That is also why the data is encrypted and is not traceable back to specific persons. These are the reasons for user to choose our app. Why they should keep playing is that it's a good way to learn more about oneself and one's knowledge. Perhaps users will discover subjects they are proficient in yet had never heard of before in this context. Or discover completely new subject areas that the app lets you learn more about. What is more, compared to commercial quiz apps, we provide users with a differentiated assessment upon completion of the tests - immediately and free of charge.
What is the process in developing this kind of app from the basic idea all the way to the scientific development of the app? Concentrating especially on the general knowledge test: What does the data collection process look like?
D.K. There are a few rules that govern what makes a good question - how it has to be posed, how it has to be phrased and what the answers need to look like. Mainly, the questions and the answers need to be posed clearly and in a comprehensible manner. Wrong answers have to be plausible enough so as to not give away the correct one right away without having read the question but also cannot be too hard. There is a large catalogue of criteria that governs how a good question or a good answer is posed. We composed the questions strongly based on these criteria. It is also important to include all categories equally and not heavily favour one. This requires a lot of research. We thought about issues such as: What belongs in the category biology? or How does this question fit a certain topic? But also: What questions do other quizapps include? What have they missed? There are several authors that have narrowed down specific subjects significantly. We tried to build a certain synthesis to authors like this while not leaving anything out. We finished this off by considering different vocational sectors and how we can incorporate the knowledge of this sector into the quiz. There are sectors that are heavily overrepresented in most quizzes, most often the classical "school subjects". In our quiz, we included knowledge that someone in the technical sector would have or that someone running a household would have. We tried to figure out what there is to know about this world in general.
A short outlook: Do you already have first results or predictions?
D.K. We don't have any robust findings as of yet. For this we need more participants in order to increase our data set. We have, however, found that we are able to differentiate between various sectors. This correlates with previous findings. We can identify certain strengths and weaknesses in a person's knowledge. Just because one person has perfect knowledge of one field does not mean he/she has perfect knowledge in all fields and vice versa. We can definitely identify a threefold division between natural sciences, social sciences and humanities that can be divided into subcategories. Participants that are more interested in humanities, for example, will also be more interested in the corresponding subcategories.
And concerning methodology? Has smartphone-based testing proved successful?
D.K. What we can clearly see is that we are producing an extremely interesting dataset that sets itself apart from any other datasets produced by 'traditional' psychological testing. Our dataset is very unique. This also means that classical methods of analysis don't work which poses quite some difficulties in terms of evaluating the data it provides. But that is also what makes it exciting! We are delighted about how well the app works and welcome any and all constructive feedback. The app is constantly evolving; we are currently working on weeding out small mistakes in spelling or such that snuck its way in and might add some questions to the general knowledge test. It is a fascinating project and I am really looking forward to the final results!
Do you have a final statement for potential users? Why should they immediately go to their App- or GooglePlay Store and download the app?
D.K. You can learn a lot about yourself, you can surprise yourself by discovering what you're capable of and what potential lies in you - and we want to help you in this journey. ◼
// Interview and Editing: Theresa Schmitz / Concept & Design: Katrin Bernsdorff
Image Credits: © Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences