Researching Facebook

Posted by Tanja Estella Bosch | 25 Feb, 2008

OK, so for many of you it's a case of "been there, done that, tagged the photo". But even if it is yesterday's news, I'm still busy researching Facebook. Scroll down for my research questions and methodology... But let me get right to the point. I want to survey UCT students about their FB usage, but I need some help with access to large lecture groups. All it would involve is about 10 minutes - to explain the research and to distribute the questionnaire - perhaps at the end of a lecture. If you're willing to offer your students as guinea pigs, please email me tanja.bosch@uct.ac.za so that I can get my lab coat ready for a visit to your classroom.

I'm hoping that, if nothing else, we can find out more about students' use of online social networking networks and the potential for building online learning communities...and of course, if we (UCT) are to follow the route of blocking access (like many employers have done), then we do so from an informed perspective...Hope you can help me! 

Research Questions
•    How are UCT students using Facebook?
•    How do UCT students’ networks on Facebook relate to their networks in the classroom?
•    How do UCT student FB profiles reflect the “digital divide” (with reference to language, class and race; Internet user demographics in South Africa)?
•    How are tutors and lecturers attempting to engage with students using Facebook?
•    What potential does FB hold for building learning communities?

Methodology
•    Unstructured qualitative interviews with UCT students who use Facebook
•    Quantitative survey of UCT students who use Facebook
•    Online ethnography and qualitative content analysis of UCT student profiles
•    Collective case studies of UCT faculty using Facebook for academic purposes
•    Conversation analysis of student moves on Facebook (e.g. on the wall)
 


1 comments & 0 Trackbacks of "Researching Facebook"

  1. Just as well everyone didn't volunteer their lecture groups all at once...a brilliant idea was offered by a colleague (thanks Vicki) to survey students online via labs on campus. Brilliant. May as well make use of technology in a research study on technology! Now I only wish I had the time to take a "research day"! Posted by TEB 03 Mar 2008, 20:54