Social Media-Based Data Collection and Analysis in Educational Research

Social Media-Based Data Collection and Analysis in Educational Research

Liuli Huang
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1173-2.ch004
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The past decades have brought many changes to education, including the role of social media in education. Social media data offer educational researchers first-hand insights into educational processes. This is different from most traditional and often obtrusive data collection methods (e.g., interviews and surveys). Many researchers have explored the role of social media in education, such as the value of social media in the classroom, the relationship between academic achievement and social media. However, the role of social media in educational research, including data collection and analysis from social media, has been examined to a far lesser degree. This study seeks to discuss the potential of social media for educational research. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the process of collecting and analyzing social media data through a pilot study of current math educational conditions.
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Social media refers to Internet tools and applications that allow users to share content and communicate with other users. Nowadays, most users utilize social media through applications (apps) which are installed on mobile devices, such as mobile phones, which allow for near real-time sharing of information. These apps tend to be free or very inexpensive and allow users unfiltered access to a broad community. In this sense, they meet a basic human need of connecting with others. They permit connectivity across geographic and even language boundaries, and are utilized to share day-to-day life activities in the form of texts and images, express opinions, follow and interact with the postings of others. Social media allow users to share the details of their lives as they unfold on a daily basis. These features have driven the usage rates of social media to unprecedented levels, with virtual communities that extend across the globe.

Social media are used by organizations, often as a way to communicate with customers, employees, and competitors. They are also used for advertisement, to inform others of events and happenings in their organizations, as a means of professional development, and as a tool to build community among workers and peers locally and internationally.

In education, the connectivity that social media offer has significant potential to enhance educational processes. Students can use social media to interact with teachers outside of the classroom, or join and connect with collaborative groups of learners at a local school or in another country (Erjavec, 2013; Garcia, Elbeltagi, Dungay, & Hardaker, 2015; Susilo & Kaufman, 2014). Teachers can use social media to communicate with colleagues about particular students, share learning resources, and engage in peer mentoring and collaborations (Bett & Makewa, 2018). Administrators can use social media to communicate directly with parents, interact with students and teachers, and conduct a host of administrative functions (Mazer, Murphy, & Simonds, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Data Transformation: The process of transforming the qualitative data into quantitative data.

Concurrent: A mixed method data collection strategy to validate one form of data with the other form, or to address different types of questions, while the data are collected simultaneously.

Hashtag: The word or phrase that is used to identify specify posts on social media, such as Twitter Facebook.

Twitter API: The special URLs that web owners intentionally provided for developers to download data from their databases.

Sentiment Analysis: A technique used to gain an overview of people’ opinion toward certain topics through text data.

Sequential Strategy: A mixed-methods strategy for data collection to provide more data based on the results from the earlier phase of the data collection.

Key Words: The words researchers determine to query from the tweets.

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