College of Liberal Arts
Communication Studies Department
BA in Communication Studies
This study examined student motivations to use a newly developed application for their study abroad needs. Though prior research suggests that identifying with certain perceived groups increases their sense of belonging, critics also recognize that every unique individual has his/her own set of specific needs to be satisfied regardless of social membership. A survey style interview was conducted in which twelve Cal Poly students answered open-ended questions surrounding application use and travel needs. The interview assessed their opinions on perceived membership as a Cal Poly student, their motivations to utilize travel applications, and their ideas on what features make travel applications most successful. As predicted by Social Identity Theory, primary results show that a majority of individuals identify with groups they are proud to be a part of. Similarly, as predicted by Uses and Gratifications Theory, users prefer instantaneity, food suggestions and comfort/safety aspects as important features when using a travel application. Overall, this study suggests that Cal Poly students would find an application developed by other Cal Poly students helpful; and although common themes arose across the majority of participants, distinct features help explain the success of travel apps.