CEITR research team publishes social media article

CEITR research team publishes social media article

CEITR research team members, Karen Johnson, J. Medgar Roberts, Michelle Susberry Hill, Mary ‘Mimi’ Stout, and Lisa Wells published an article on doctoral students’ use of social media in the December 2017, issue of Research on Media and Education.

What educational leaders should know about social media, collaboration and doctoral learning is based on research the team gathered from a closed Facebook group frequented by doctoral students, alumni, faculty, and consultants that share resources, give support and encouragement, and celebrate milestones during the dissertation process.

The team secured permission from the Facebook group administrator and obtained IRB approval for the study because the group members could have had the expectation of confidentiality when posting in the closed group. Posts from a specified period were analyzed for appropriateness to the study and after a criteria rating process of the posts, potential participants were selected and invited to participate in interviews to follow-up on information in the posts.

Nine students agreed to be interviewed. Their responses were coded, analyzed, and interpreted to answer the Research Question, RQ1: How are students using social media for communication? and two sub questions: SQ1. How are doctoral students using social media and the relationships formed to avoid feelings of isolation and disconnectedness? SQ2. How is social media helping students to proceed through their doctoral programs?

Student Postings fell into three groups: a) Questions and answers about conducting research, b) frustration/questions about the dissertation process, most often IRB, and c) celebrations. One of the 12 themes discovered from the interview data showed that the reasons most students used social media was (a) learning from peers who had similar experiences, (b) learning about answers to difficult questions, (c) learning from experts in the doctoral field of interest, and (d) rapid feedback when bureaucracy was slow.

Presentations based on the research were made by members of the research team at KWBA in Phoenix in July 2017, and at the AECT international conference in Jacksonville, Florida, in November 2017.








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