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Social Media & Academic Acheivement- Group Research Proposal

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Social Media & Academic Acheivement- Group Research Proposal

  1. 1. The Influence of Social Media Use on Grade Point Average Ashlyn Ingram Amanda Barthell Jinnifer Jenkins Jennifer Pearson Maria Reeves Sociology 2301 Fall 2014
  2. 2. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE Introduction Social networks have evolved immensely over the past decade. Communication through technological methods has served to increase networking initiatives, but can be very time consuming. In regards to social media and education, studies have suggested that there are adverse effects between social media use and the impact on grade point averages. Students attempt to multi-task while studying which results in lower academic performance. Sites such as: Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram are now being used as primary sites to attain information and are readily accessible through mobile devices that are popular throughout undergraduate students. With these devices being accessible within academic environments they also serve as distractions towards student involvement. Dr. Alexander Astin proposed the developmental theory for college students focusing on the concept of involvement, which he renamed engagement. Engagement focuses on the interaction with peers and faculty as well as the investment of academic experience within a student’s collegiate career. Although there are positive implications of social media within other industries, there is a striking impact within education that proves to hinder student’s growth within the classroom. The purpose of this qualitative research is to find the correlation between social media and its effects on grade point averages on Kennesaw State University’s student population. Does the use of personal social media sites have a negative effect on academic achievement? Also, what intervening variables supplement the use of social media within education and are they positive or negative? Time management among college students plays an integral part within study habits and academic achievement reducing multi-tasking. This particular research serves to 2
  3. 3. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE prove that a greater sense of time management rather than active participation and engagement in social media leads to an increase in academic achievement. Literature Review In recent years, social media has become a big part of our everyday lives. A large proportion of our population, especially young adults, is active on social media sites. According to an article written by Amanda Lenhant, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathryn Zickuhr, young adults, individuals aged 18 to 31, are the most common users in the social media community. Of the large number of participants, seventy-five percent of adult internet users under age 25 have a profile on at least one social media network (Lenhard et al. 2010). Young adults typically use social media as a way to stay connected with others and retrieve information. However, social media has the ability to consume a significant amount of an individual’s time. As many young adults are enrolled in some sort of higher education, pending this time on social media can potentially take away from academic achievement. Junco Reynol conducted a study regarding the relationship between a student’s use of Facebook and their grade point average (GPA). In this study, data were collected by surveying United States residents living in the northeastern part of the country. All participants were students enrolled in a public university. A total of 1839 electronic surveys were completed. Students were asked to approximate the amount of time a day they spent on Facebook and how frequently they checked it by using a pull-down menu on their mobile devices. Participants were asked to approximate the number of hours and minutes for these questions. Reynol received permission from the participants to access their academic records and obtain their overall GPA. Grade point averages were measured on a 4.0 scale. 3
  4. 4. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE The results from the survey concluded that the use of social media has a negative relation regarding overall GPA. Heavy Facebook users spend less time preparing for class which leads to a lower GPA than a student who uses Facebook less frequently. Wade Jacobson also conducted a study regarding academic outcome and social media use among university students. The sample was made up of 1,026 first year university students with the average age of the sample being 19. In this study, the average student GPA was 3.28 based on a 4.0 scale. However, the academic achievement was measured by self-reported GPA. Sixty- two percent of participants reported using a form of non-academic social media while in class, studying, or doing homework. From this information, it is safe to say that social media is a huge distraction regarding academics. Results from this study show that students spend (daily) about 52 minutes using Facebook, over half an hour e-mailing, about 10 minutes online chatting and about 45 minutes text messaging. In regards to this study, Jacobson states (2011), "Supportive of our hypothesis and consistent with prior research, our findings indicate that electronic media use is negatively associated with grades." However, a limitation regarding this study was the amount of undeliverable e-mails containing the 3-day log, therefore, the response rate was relatively low. As we can see, social networking continues to grow and is becoming more and more popular among college students. There are many reasons, easier access to networks, for this increase. One of these tools include smartphones. Smartphones are now able to access the internet which allows students to participate in social networking very easily, even throughout class time. Matthew Stollak conducted another study that looked at the differences in social media use between students with smartphones and students without them. He found that students with 4
  5. 5. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE smart phones spent significantly more time engaging in social media than those who do not own one. He also looked at the students’ academic achievement; there was no significant difference in the use of social media pertaining to one's year in college. In terms of GPA, the only social media site with a negative relationship between one's grades and social media use was Facebook. However, because Facebook continues to be one of the most used social networks, this is not surprising. Though these studies mentioned above lead to similar conclusions, more research needs to be done in the area, as we feel that there is not any research that includes specific details regarding causes of social media use, how often participants are active, what networks are most used, etc. Our proposed research will incorporate these questions. Theory In 1984, Alexander Astin proposed a developmental theory for college students that focused on the concept of involvement, which he later renamed engagement. Astin defined engagement as ‘the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience’ (Astin 1984). Today, engagement is conceptualized as the time and effort students invest in educational activities that are empirically linked to desired college outcomes. Engagement encompasses various factors, including investment in the academic experience of college, interactions with faculty, involvement in co-curricular activities, and interaction with peers. Astin concluded that if a college student invests time into their academics, they will do well. But by investing their time into other things, they will not do well (Astin 1984). 5
  6. 6. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE Variables Social media is the independent variable of the proposed research. It is an ordinal variable, and can be defined in our study as a student’s perception of the usage of electronic communication through online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine. It is measured by how often the student is active on networks. The scale includes never, almost never, 1-3 times a week, 4-6 times a week, 1-5 times a day, 6-9 times a day, and more than 10 times a day. Grade point average (GPA) is the dependent variable in the proposed research. This is an ordinal variable, and refers to the actual Kennesaw State University grade point average of the student. It ranges from a 4.0 to below a 2.0. Classification is a control variable in the proposed research. This is a nominal variable, and refers to the class ranking. Classification options include freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate student. How long the student has been using the internet is a control variable in the proposed research. This is an ordinal variable, and ranges from never used it, less than six months, six to eleven months, one to three years, four to six years, and seven or more years. We are also including sex, age, and marital status as control variables. Methods We will be collecting the data from Kennesaw State University in March of 2015. By conducting the research at this time, students will be comfortable in their classrooms, schedule, and assignments. This will allow for accurate perceptions regarding social media use, time management, and academic achievement. 6
  7. 7. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE For the proposed research, we plan to be collect surveys through a random sample. To ensure that the sample of students is random, we will request that the registrar’s office send out a campus-wide email to every student with our survey attached. This will allow us to collect responses from specific student groups that may or may not skew the data. Our survey will consist of 22 questions. This questionnaire has been pretested on ten subjects, and has been adjusted to provide clear, understandable questions. Before beginning the survey students will be provided with a consent form that explains that they are freely volunteering to participate in the proposed research, will remain anonymous, and are free to stop the survey at any time if they wish. Students will be informed that by proceeding with the completion and submission of the survey, they agree to all things listed on the consent form. Both, the survey and consent form are attached to this proposed research. Although our sample will be well representative of Kennesaw State University’s student population, our proposed research will not be representative of any other university. Another ethical issue that we will face with the proposed research is that we are only selecting one time of the year to complete the research, as social media use and academic achievement may vary throughout the year. We intend on collecting more data with the same research techniques at other times of the year in the future. 7
  8. 8. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE Bibliography Astin, Alexander W. 1984. "Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education." Journal of college student personnel 25(4): 297-308. Lenhart, Amanda, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathryn Zickuhr. 2010. “Social Media and Mobile Internet Use among Teens and Young Adults.” Pew Internet and American Life Project, February 3, 2010 (http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/02/03/social-media-and- young-adults/). Jacobson, Wade and Renata Forste. 2011. “The Wired Generation: Academic and Social Outcomes.” CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING 14(5): 225-280. Reynol, Junco. 2012. “Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices.” Computers in Human Behavior 28(1): 187-198. Stollak, Matthew, Amy Vandenberg, Andie Burklund, and Stephanie Weiss. 2011. “Getting Social: The Impact of Social Networking Usage on Grades among College Students.” ASBBS 18(1): 859-865. 8
  9. 9. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE The Relationship between the Use of Social Media and Student Grades I consent to participating in the research project titled The Relationship between the Use of Social Media and Student Grades, conducted by Amanda Barthell, Jinnifer Jenkins, Jennifer Pearson, Maria Reeves, and Ashlyn Ingram, students at Kennesaw State University. My participation is completely voluntary, I may request to withdraw my consent at any time and all information retrieved will be discarded, removed, and returned to me. I also understand the following: 1) The purpose for this study is to better examine the relationship between the use of social media and grades. Using a distribution of quantitative surveys, the purpose of this study is to better understand the effect of using social media networks, while also enrolled in university, has on a student’s grade point average. 2) Throughout the survey, the participant will be asked numerous questions which pertain to demographics (sex, age, university classification, etc) along with personal perception based questions regarding social media usage and study habits. All questions asked are designed to be simple with no required preparations. The researched asks that you answer honestly and to the best of your ability. 3) There is no known risks to the participation of this research study. 4) Participation is entirely confidential. All persons that participate in the research study will remain unidentifiable, and all information collected will be destroyed after the study is complete. 5) The purpose of this research has been explained and my participation is entirely voluntary. I have the right to stop participating in the study at any time without penalty. I understand that the research entails no known risks. I also understand that my responses are not being recorded in any individually identifiable form. By anonymously completing this survey, I am agreeing to participate in this research study. Questions or problems regarding this project should be addressed to: Dr. Eliza Markley Professor of Sociology Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Kennesaw State University E-mail: emarkley@kennesaw.edu 9
  10. 10. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE Survey Please circle the selection that best represent your answers for questions 1-3. 1. To what degree is studying a priority for you? Not a priority Low priority Medium priority High priority Essential 2. How often do you study on a daily basis? Never Rarely Sometimes Often Very Often 3. I have a strong sense of time-management. Very untrue Untrue Neutral True Very true Please check the boxes that best represent your answers for questions 4-7. QUESTION Never Almost Never 1-3 Times a Week 4-6 Times a Week 1-5 Times a Day 6-9 Times a Day More than 10 times a day 4. How often do you use campus computers to check social media networks? 5. How often do you check your electronic device for social media updates while on campus? 6. How often do you access at least one social network? 7. How often do you access two or more social networks? Please check the boxes that best represent your answers for questions 8-13. 10
  11. 11. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE QUESTION Very Unlikely Unlikely Neutral Likely Very Likely 8. How likely are you to log off of your social network accounts before a class begins? 9. How likely are you to check Facebook during class? 10. How likely are you to check Twitter during class? 11. How likely are you to check Instagram during class? 12. How likely are you to check Snapchat during class? 13. How likely are you to check Vine during class? Please circle the selection that best represent your answers for questions 14-22. 14. How many student organizations are you involved in at Kennesaw State University? None 1 2 3 4 or More 15. If you are involved in a student organization on campus, do you also obtain information from the organization’s social media networks? 11
  12. 12. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE N/A Yes No 16. What is your GPA? 4.0-3.5 3.4-3.0 2.9-2.5 2.4-2.0 Below 2.0 17. What classification are you? Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate Student 18. How long have you been using the internet? Never used it Less than 6 months 6 to 11 months 1 to 3 years 4 to 6 years 7 years or more 19. What is your age? 25 or younger 26-40 41-55 56 or older 20. What is your sex? Male Female I do not wish to identify my sex 21. What is your marital status? Married Widowed 12
  13. 13. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE ON GRADE POINT AVERAGE Divorced Single 22. Do you believe that your academic achievements are a reflection of your activity on social media networks? Please explain your answer. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _____ 13

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