Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The impact of social media on identity formation: A netnographic study of Korean graduate students' virtual communities of practice
by Bumbalough, Mathew, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2016, 259; 10143514
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explored how Korean students from a Midwestern university use social media when they come to the United States for the first time to start graduate school. In order to do so, I conducted a netnography which examines their virtual communities to observe language use (both English and Korean) within the their virtual circle of friends. I did so for a period of one semester, with archival data dating back to when they first found out they were coming to the US. This thesis is based on the argument that Korean graduate students go through a shift in linguistic, cultural, and social identity, and that social media can provide those in the field of literacy, culture, and language education a glimpse into the literacy and language practices of international students outside of the classroom. This dissertation also explains the theoretical framework behind virtual communities, analyzes current literature about virtual communities in language education, uses Kozinets’ (2009) netnography as a methodology to conduct the research, and analyzes semi-structured interviews, social media, and questionnaire data through Creswell’s (2008) notion of thematic analysis. I conclude that the use of social media generally provides a means of identity expression for Korean graduate students, and that their linguistic, cultural, and social identities are not shaped by social media itself, but social media provides an outlet where we can see negotiation of identity from when they apply to the school and through their first semester of study; by using Korean as a language of social and cultural expression and English as a means of sharing information about their programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Coronel-Molina, Serafin
Commitee: Cho, Yonjoo, Samuelson, Beth, Smith, Walter R.
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Web Studies, Educational technology, Higher education
Publication Number: 10143514
ISBN: 978-1-339-98726-2
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