The Research Context

What is this research all about? 

With the increasing use of social media in higher education, a number of educators, faculty, and administrators are rarely considering the impact for effective implementation and use at our institutions.  The post-secondary education institutions are utilizing social media to communicate and engage their campus community; however there is little information or examination of the social media policies, guidelines, and strategies imposed by the campus. To pursue this research, I have built a database of social media guideline and policy documents that are publicly accessible from post-secondary education institution websites.


About my Doctoral Dissertation Research

To examine and define the semantic structure of a corpus-creating community of practice and to establish a common reference point for post-secondary education (PSE) social media guideline and policy documents.

Purpose of the Study

The Purpose of this study is to analyze social media guideline and policy documents that are accessible online from the PSE sector.

Research Questions

R1. What content related factors are relevant to structuring the body of textual data in retrieved electronic social media guideline and policy documents from the PSE sector?

R2. Does the distribution of topics analyzed in the corpus differ by PSE institution geographic location?


Social media is transforming the way our higher education institutions teach, learn, support, and research.  Social media can be defined as “virtual places where people share; everybody and anybody can share anything anywhere anytime” (Joosten, 2012, p. 14). The roles of learner, instructor, and researcher are evolving and changing at many of our colleges and universities. There are now expectations for learners to develop digital literacy including continuous discovery, digital curation, network development, connect to real-world issues, and to take responsibility for their learning (Danciu & Grosseck,  2011).

Educational institutions are considering innovative ways to develop faculty, students and staff with engaging new technologies (Kukulska-Hulme, 2011). The connected features of social media has inspired a growing number of educators to consider the impact these technologies can have on learning.  Web 2.0 provides the ability to collaborate in a virtual community culture for social and innovative learning which motivates students (Llorens & Capdeferro, 2012). It is up to our educational organizations to consider the process and guidelines to best meet the needs of our campus environments.

With the increasing use of social media and individuals preferring to use social media over other communication tools, many educators are examining how to effectively implement social media in our institutions.  Institutions are using social media to communicate with their community.  Also, they looking to implement social media on their campuses in order to engage students inside and outside the classroom. These institutions are making decisions on how to support and encourage social media use while considering the costs and implications.

To better understanding what higher education institutions should consider when guiding social media use, specifically for student support, teaching, training and development, research, policy, infrastructure, and more. Please consider contributing to help advance social media guidance and use  our institutions: Submit a Social Media Guideline

NYU socme

Research Details
You have likely come to this website as you are either involved, interested, or curious as to how we are guiding social media in higher education. Over the course of the next few months, I will be gathering social media guidelines from higher education institutions to better understand how social media tools, applications, and websites are being “guided” at our post-secondary education institutions.
Phase II: Pre-Processing Documents and Data Analysis
Organizing and formatting social media guideline and policy documents from 250 institutions representing 10 countries into 24, 243 atomic documents for text analysis and correspondence analysis between geographic regions and countries. This is WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
Phase III: Reviewing the Findings
I will be looking at the normative view (maximum frequency) and promotional view (count frequency) of words in this text mining analysis. Beyond this text mining analysis, I am conducting a correspondence analysis between geographic regions (Non-US vs. US PSE institutions) to determine how different higher education environment “guide” social media use on campus. Current findings identify a 36-factor solution:
Figure 10 - Scree Plot K=36
And a number of polarizing topics between Non-US and US PSE institutions:
Figure 12 - Polarizing Topics
Specifically, different factors (topics) of social media guideline and policy documents are sorted to be more specific to the 10 countries represented in this 250 PSE institution sample:
Symmetric Plot
Phase IV: Summary and Conclusions
Here I will share a few insights to the findings, and introduce suggested methods for designing social media guidelines and policies for PSE institutions. Related findings connect to communities of practices who develop the social media guidelines and policies, contractual vs. promotional views for social media guidance, and cultural values diverging between geographic regions.


Danciu, E. & Grosseck, G. (2011). Social aspects of web 2.0 technologies: Teaching or teachers’ challenges? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3768-3773.

Joosten, T. (2012) Social media for educators. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2012). How should the higher education workforce adapt to advancements in technology for teaching and learning?. The Internet and Higher Education15(4), 247-254.

Llorens, F. & Capdeferro, N. (2011). Facebook’s potential for collaborative e-learning. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (RUSC), 8(2), 197-210.

One thought on “The Research Context

  1. Pingback: Gathering #SocialMedia Guidelines from Higher Education #SoMe #edusomedia #highered | TechKNOW Tools

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s