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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Is there an online public sphere? : a critical analysis of three British mainstream news online comment forums

Ellis, Louise J. January 2015 (has links)
This study focuses on reader comments within three British mainstream news online comment forums, the BBC’s World Have your Say, The Daily Mail’s RightMinds and The Guardian’s Comment is Free, to assess whether, and to what extent, these virtual spaces can be viewed as hosting an online public sphere. The sample includes 9,424 comments drawn from 78 forums between 1st May 2011 and 31st May 2012. Two theoretical frameworks are applied during data analysis comprising an initial small-scale content analysis complemented by a larger sociological discourse analysis. First, data are analysed against three of Dahlberg’s (2001a) online public sphere criteria: ‘autonomy’, ‘discursive inclusion and equality’ and ‘exchange and critique’. Second, analytical tools drawn from Bakhtinian (1986) notions of utterance, speech genres and heteroglossia are applied to the data. Key themes arising include the different levels of autonomy commenters achieve across the three news comment forums, abuse as a catalyst for participating in debates, and the importance of commenter-to-commenter deliberations. Moreover, in contrast to the rational-critical demands of public sphere discourse, intonation and more specifically Bakhtin’s (1984) notion of emotional-volitional content, demonstrates a significant presence within debates.

Participation and deliberation in networked publics : the case of social network sites

Rowe, Ian January 2015 (has links)
Online social network sites have become an important source of news and political information for many people. At the same time, these sites have transformed the way users encounter and engage with this type of content. This thesis investigates the democratic implications of this trend. Specifically, it estimates the extent to which the relationship between news consumption and political behaviour is mediated by the unique technological affordances of social network sites. It explores how, and to what extent, social network sites transform the way users encounter and engage with news content and how this, in turn, shapes their subsequent political behaviour. This thesis comprises a series of original comparative research papers. Paper 1 sets out to establish evidence of a relationship between everyday social network site use and political participation. Using nationally representative data collected by the UK Oxford Internet Institute, it establishes evidence to suggest that social network site use has the potential to increase political participation, but only when it comes to certain activities. Building on this analysis, Paper 2 estimates the extent to which social network site use indirectly influences political participation, through inadvertently exposing users to news content and information. It finds that although the everyday use of social network sites positively predicts inadvertent news and information exposure, such exposure does not translate into widespread political participation. Since a growing body of research indicates that the effects of news and information on participatory behaviour is largely channeled through interpersonal communication, Paper 3 and Paper 4 focus on the communicative processes that are typically thought to precede participation. Specifically, these papers analyse a unique set of data to investigate the extent to which social network sites shape the way users discuss the news content they consume on these sites. Paper 3 compares the deliberative quality of user comments left on social network sites with those left on news websites. Paper 4 adopts an identical methodological approach to compare the level of civility and politeness in user comments across platforms. The findings suggest that while social network sites are conducive to civil political discussion, they do not appear to encourage comments of superior deliberative quality.

The interrelationship between choice of course of study abroad and participation in online social networks

Raeisi, A. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis examines how the choice of course of study abroad interrelates with participation in online social networks, and provides an application of semiotics to research in choice and decision making in higher education and information systems research. The study itself is justified by the increasing need to consider students’ choice of course of study as a separate phenomenon from their choice of institution or host country. Alongside the adoption of a more nuanced view of student selection, the author also recognises the need to understand the role of online social networks within the decision-making process for selecting higher education courses. This work adopts an interpretivist philosophy and utilises a comparative case study method, drawing upon semi-structured interviews with international MBA students in addition to relevant documentation. The thesis finds a strong interplay between the choice of course of study abroad and participation in online social networks.

Blended social network to promote citizen preparedness and engagement in sustainability

Alsuliman, Abdulrahman January 2015 (has links)
The overall aim of this research is to devise a climate change engagement modelling with an associated platform that would contribute to successfully engage the public and prompt them to move away from anti-environmental behaviour and closer to a sustainable lifestyle. The research model relies on the creation of new types of online social networks (‘Blended Social Network (BSN)), which comprises the new type of online social network with featured ICT techniques, including: context-aware user profiling, individual social marketing, social learning, location-based services and the ‘attraction modules’. The new model are able to support a bottom-up approach through adopting persuasive techniques that will likely lead to an enhanced public acceptance of environmental sustainability. The methodology design has four main phases, which are the literature review and conceptual model development, followed by three empirical stages: the empirical field study of public perceptions survey, development of prototype platform and the testing and validation of the conceptual model of the study. The first phase undertaken: (i) to identify a gap in the research, conceptualise a research engagement model, identify the key perception constructs that are used in phase two of this research, formulate the comprehensive theoretical validation framework to check the validity of the conceptual model, and measure the influence of the model on people’s intentions to change negative behaviour to be compatible with a sustainable lifestyle. In the second phase, the large survey (n=1173), was conducted to investigate public perception to provide information about public understanding towards sustainability issues and their perceptions related to components of the conceptual model in general. The outcomes were employed to underpin the model with necessary aspects of engagement in local context and revised it to reflect the real situation. In the phase three, a new prototype ‘Blended Social Network’ (BSN) platform was developed to assist and enable the researcher to explain and validate all of the concepts involved in the conceptual model. The prototype platform was used to assess the capability of the BSN platform to engage people to adopt a new and sustainable lifestyle. The research hypotheses, thesis conceptual model, and its components were assessed and validated using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The findings of the empirical study reveal that the conceptual model, is preliminarily accepted by the respondents and has potential positive effects to bridge most of the apparent barriers. For instance, the Blended Social Networks and the ICT modules proposed in this research model may assist people in overcoming most of the obstacles regarding cognition, affective and intention to change behaviour attributes including facilitating conditions and perceived behaviour control. This provides evidence of the significant role of the proposed the BSN platform and the ICT techniques in engaging people toward sustainability. The detailed validation results of this study show that the three engagement constructs considered in the model account for 71% of the dependent variable of users’ preparedness to engage, relying on the use of the BSN itself, 69% for the dependent variable of users’ preparedness to engage relying on Context-aware technique, 72.8% rely on Place-based technique, 51.3% rely on Social learning technique,73.2% rely on Individual social marketing technique, 34.5% rely on Profile-sustainable-labelling technique, 69.2% rely on Participate-current-trends technique and 76.2% rely on the Permanent-incentive technique within the integrated BSN. Variance in a person’s perceptions towards the overall effect of innovation on preparedness to engage was entirely explained by cognitive (ranging between 39.2% and 69.1%), affective factors (ranging between 37.9% and 72.0%) and the intention to change behaviour (ranging between 37.6% and 73.9%).

Dark retweets : an investigation of non-conventional retweeting patterns

Azman, Norhidayah January 2014 (has links)
Retweets are an important mechanism for the propagation of information on the Twitter social media platform. However, many retweets do not use the offcial retweet mechanism, or even community established conventions, and these "dark retweets" are not accounted for in many existing analyses. In this thesis, a typology of 19 different tweet propagation types is presented, based on seven characteristics: whether it is proprietary, the mechanism used, whether it is created by followers or non-followers, whether it mentions other users, if it is explicitly propagating another tweet, if it links to an original tweet, and the audience that it is pushed to. Based on this typology and two retweetability confidence factors, the degrees of a retweet's "darkness" can be determined. This typology was evaluated over two datasets: a random sample of 27,146 tweets, and a URL drill-down dataset of 262,517 tweets. It was found that dark retweets amounted to 20.8% of the random sample, however the behaviour of dark retweets is not uniform. The existence of supervisible and superdark URLs skew the average proportion of dark retweets in a dataset. Dark retweet behaviour was explored further by examining the average reach of retweet actions and identifying content domains in which dark retweets seem more prevalent. It was found that 1) the average reach of a dark retweet action (3,614 users per retweet) was found to be just over double the average reach of a visible retweet action (1,675 users per retweet), and 2) dark retweets were more frequently used in spreading social media (41% of retweets) and spam (40.6%) URLs, whilst they were least prevalent in basic information domains such as music (8.5%), photos (5%) and videos (3.9%). It was also found that once the supervisible and superdark URLs were discarded from the analysis, the proportion of dark retweets decreased from 20.8% to 12%, whilst visible retweets increased from 79.2% to 88%. This research contributes a 19-type tweet propagation typology and the findings that dark retweets exist, but their behaviour varies depending on the retweeter and URL content domain.

Influences on e-WOM adoption in two female online communities : the cases of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Al-Haidari, Nahed January 2016 (has links)
Online communities (OCs) are an important source of electronic-word-of-mouth (e-WOM), but few studies have examined such messages in a Middle Eastern context. This research develops a conceptual framework that can be used as an instrument to guide empirical work in the field of e-WOM in female OCs. Researchers in similar areas may find this work useful as exemplifying a novel approach to the study of e-WOM adoption in different OCs. This study, of e-WOM adoption in two female-only Arabic-language online forums in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is grounded in three models: the Information Adoption Model, the Information Systems Continuance Model and the Knowledge Contribution Model, because no particular theory or set of theories currently dominates OC research. In particular, researchers are strongly recommended to start building their own theories of e-WOM phenomena, because this area is still young and has grown rapidly in recent years. The research design comprises two phases. The first is a content analysis, which was appropriately used to analyse the online textual conversations, since it offers a deep understanding of the phenomenon in its real context. The purpose of this phase was to identify the main determinants of e-WOM adoption in female OCs in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, from which a conceptual model could be developed. It investigated the characteristics of the messages influencing the adoption of e-WOM. It began with a pilot study, where 90 threads were analyzed, followed by the content analysis of the two cases. A total of 765 threads were analysed in the Kuwaiti case, comprising 6200 messages broken down into 17,832 units of analysis. In the Saudi case, 1168 threads were analyzed, containing 17,320 messages and 31731 units of analysis. In both cases there was a prevalence of emotional features in messages, coded as ‘community bonding’. In the second phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted, with the aim of illuminating the similarities and differences in terms of e-WOM determinants between Kuwaiti and Saudi culture by refining the research model codes and sub-codes. This phase was also intended to answer research questions on the current situation in terms of online role behaviours in female-only online beauty forums in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; on how online behavioural roles influence females to adopt e-WOM; and on the role in e-WOM adoption of the following demographic variables: nationality, age, marital status, employment, education level, hours spent in the community and length of community membership. Fifty women, comprising 25 members of each of the two communities, were interviewed online to gain more knowledge of the factors that impede or facilitate the adoption of e-WOM. The qualitative results show that argument quality, community bonding and information need fulfilment were all significant in affecting participants’ tendency to adopt e-WOM. This study concludes with specific implications for relevant theories and useful findings at the individual, organizational and societal levels.

Chatting online : comparing spoken and online written interaction between friends

Meredith, Joanne January 2014 (has links)
This thesis addresses the question of whether or not online interactional practices are systematically different from interaction in other contexts, particularly spoken interaction. I will establish how the organization of online interaction demonstrates participants orientations to the technological affordances of the online medium. The dataset for the study comprises one-to-one interaction between friends, conducted using the chat application of the social networking site, Facebook. Chat logs and screen capture data were used to analyze how participants engaged in, and managed, their unfolding interaction. The data were analyzed using conversation analysis (CA). CA was developed originally for the analysis of spoken talk, but in this dissertation it provides an empirical basis for comparing Facebook chat and spoken interaction. The thesis demonstrates how CA can be used for analyzing online interaction. The first analytic chapter provides an overview of how participants organize the generic orders of interaction. The findings suggest that participants draw on their knowledge of both spoken and written interaction when managing the particular interactional constraints and affordances of Facebook chat. The second analytic chapter focuses on chat openings, comparing them to openings in spoken interaction. The findings reveal some similarities, but also systematic differences which orient to the design of the chat software. The third analytic chapter examines topic management, including topic-initiation, topic change and the management of simultaneous topics. The findings suggest that the CA categorization of topic-initiating turns could potentially be extended by also analyzing action-orientation and also the epistemic stance displayed. The analysis also reveals remarkable similarities between topic change in spoken interaction and in Facebook chat. Finally in this chapter I show how organizational components of spoken interaction, such as adjacency pairs and tying techniques, are used to manage simultaneous topics. The final analytic chapter focuses on self-repair in Facebook chat. The analysis reveals that self-repairs completed during message construction orient to the same interactional contingencies as self-repairs in spoken interaction. However, the affordances of Facebook chat enable these repairs to be hidden from the recipient. Visible repairs tend to be corrections, with the affordances impacting the sequential placement of such repairs. Finally, I show how participants self-repair in response to the actions of their co-participant. Overall, the findings reveal a number of similarities between the organization of Facebook chat and spoken interaction. The analysis also reveals that participants attend to the technological affordances of Facebook in a variety of ways. Finally, this thesis demonstrates that, while there are differences between the interactional practices of spoken and online written interaction, CA can be used to analyze, and subsequently explain, such differences.

Ontology engineering for ICT systems using semantic relationship mining and statistical social network analysis

Ma, Xiao January 2011 (has links)
In information science, ontology is a formal representation of knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and the relationships between those concepts. It is used to reason about the entities within that domain, and may be used to describe the domain. (Wikipedia, 2011) This research takes two case study ICT applications in engineering and medicine, and evaluates the applications and supporting ontology to identify the main requirements for ontology in ICT systems. A study of existing ontology engineering methodology revealed difficulties in generating sufficient breadth and depth in domain concepts that contain rich internal relationships. These restrictions usually arise because of a heavy dependence on human experts in these methodologies. This research has developed a novel ontology engineering methodology – SEA, which economically, quickly and reliably generates ontology for domains that can provide the breadth and depth of coverage required for automated ICT systems. Normally SEA only requires three pairs of keywords from a domain expert. Through an automated snowballing mechanism that retrieves semantically related terms from the Internet, ontology can be generated relatively quickly. This mechanism also enhances and enriches the binary relationships in the generated ontology to form a network structure, rather than a traditional hierarchy structure. The network structure can then be analysed through a series of statistical network analysis methods. These enable concept investigation to be undertaken from multiple perspectives, with fuzzy matching and enhanced reasoning through directional weight-specified relationships. The SEA methodology was used to derive medical and engineering ontology for two existing ICT applications. The derived ontology was quicker to generate, relied less on expert contribution, and provided richer internal relationships. The methodology potentially has the flexibility and utility to be of benefit in a wide range of applications. SEA also exhibits "reliability" and "generalisability" as an ontology engineering methodology. It appears to have application potential in areas such as machine translation, semantic tagging and knowledge discovery. Future work needs to confirm its potential for generating ontology in other domains, and to assess its operation in semantic tagging and knowledge discovery.

Youthwork@cyberspace.com : unsanctioned social network site connections between youth work practitioners and young people

Conradie, Liesl January 2014 (has links)
Social network sites are online spaces that can be used for interaction between young people and youth work practitioners. The focus of this thesis is social network site interaction that falls outside the guidance of the local authority, through unsanctioned interaction on practitioners’ personal but also work profiles. Twenty one practitioners and fourteen young people were interviewed, using a semi-structured interview guide. Three inter-linked themes emerged through the research process; space and place; trust development and boundary management. Young people wanted to interact with some practitioners through the practitioners' personal profiles but the majority of practitioners would rather interact with young people through work profiles. Young people viewed and trusted these practitioners as friends and were willing to share their personal, but also socially intimate information with them. Most practitioners viewed their relationship with young people as a professional relationship and aimed to maintain personal and professional boundaries. However, practitioners did not extend this same awareness to the boundaries of young people. This was further confirmed by the practice of client searching through a variety of profiles to access socially intimate information of young people. Where practitioners and volunteers lived and worked in the same geographical spaces, these multiple relationships increased uncertainty with regards to unsanctioned SNS interaction. Other practitioners were either fearful or opportunistic of these relationships and used them to gain further socially intimate information about young people or turned a blind eye to these relationships due to uncertainty of how to respond. This thesis extends knowledge and theory concerning youth work practice at a time of change, and also new spaces for interaction online. Civic courage and incentives that outweigh deterrents lead to unsanctioned connections for practitioners. For young people this interaction was based on the type of friendship they perceived they had with practitioners. Studying perceptions regarding this interaction revealed cycles of perpetual negative practice, personal and socially intimate boundaries and different views on the type of relationship that young people and practitioners developed with each other.

Automating group-based privacy control in social networks

Jones, Simon January 2012 (has links)
Users of social networking services such as Facebook often want to manage the sharing of information and content with different groups of people based on their differing relationships. The growing popularity of such services has meant that users are increasingly faced with the copresence of different groups associated with different aspects of their lives, within their network of contacts. However, few users are utilising the group-based privacy controls provided to them by the SNS provider. In this thesis we examine the reasons behind the lack of use of group-based privacy controls, finding that it can be largely attributed to the significant burden associated with group configuration. We aim to overcome this burden by developing automated mechanisms to assist users with many aspects of group-based privacy control, including initial group configuration, labeling, adjustment and selection of groups for sharing privacy sensitive content. We use a mixed methods approach in order to understand: how automated mechanisms should be designed in order to support users with their privacy control, how well these mechanisms can be expected to work, what the limitations are, and how such mechanisms affect users’ experiences with social networking services and content sharing. Our results reveal the criteria that SNS users employ in order to configure their groups for privacy control and illustrate that off-the-shelf algorithms and techniques which are analogous to these criteria can be used to support users. We show that structural network clustering algorithms provide benefits for initial group configuration and that clustering threshold adjustments and detection of hubs and outliers with the network are necessary for group adjustment. We demonstrate that public profile data can be extracted from the network in order to help users to comprehend their groups, and that contextual information relating to context, contacts, and content can be used to make recommendations about which groups might be useful for disclosure in a given situation. We also show that all of these mechanisms can be used to significantly reduce the burden of privacy control and that users react positively to such features.

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