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Paradigms in Social Media Studies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this project is to study the level of paradigm development in the domain of social media studies. Based on the works of Kuhn (1970), Pfeffer (1993), and Thompson and Tuden (1959), the level of paradigm development was defined as the degree of consensus regarding: research topics, methods, and theories used in a given field of study. A sample of social media research articles was studied to analyze the level paradigm development within this domain of study. The sample consisted of a group of social media research articles that were published in the top ten journals of communication studies in the last five years. Content analysis methodology was used to analyze the research articles and clusters analysis was utilized in order to investigate the level of paradigm development in this field of study. The analysis confirmed the lack of consensus in the social sciences (Pfeffer, 1993). The level of agreement regarding research methods, theoretical concepts, and research topics used in social media studies was quite low. The lack of consensus in this new domain of study may be explained by two factors. Social media as an academic field is still in its infancy (Van Osch and Coursaris, 2014), and thus it lacks of a shared body of theoretical knowledge that can be used to analyze the phenomenon of social media (Van Osch and Coursaris, 2014; Chong and Xie, 2011; and Khang, Ki, and Ye, 2012). In conclusion, this project suggests that social media studies should aim to develop a high level of paradigm development, since academic fields with high levels of consensus are better organized, have fewer power conflicts, and get more funding (Beyer and Lodhl, 1976; Pfeffer, 1993).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 113 p.
Keyword [en]
social media research, paradigm, consensus in science, Kuhn, cluster analysis
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263207OAI: diva2:857296
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
2015-08-27, 14:57 (English)
Available from: 2015-09-30 Created: 2015-09-28 Last updated: 2015-09-30Bibliographically approved

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