Social media use is widespread with evidence suggesting about three-quarters of the population in the US and Australia have a social media profile. While there are many benefits deriving from social media use, such as convenient access to information and a platform for real-time communication, there is an increasing recognition that there are also many negative effects. These can include unauthorized use of private information, cyber-abuse and bullying, unwanted content, biased news information, and increasing levels of depression and anxiety.
This research project requires you to analyze survey data from a national sample of American adult social media users. The data provided will allow you to understand if there are differences in how males and females feel about the content on social media, whether education level affects perceptions of how easy social media sites can predict who we are and what we do base on the information they have on us, and whether it is believed that social media makes it easier to hold powerful people accountable for their actions, or distracts from issues that are truly important.
Data was collected by a major US Research Centre in 2018, from a probability-based online panel of adults aged 18 or older living in households in the United States. The sample participants were asked to respond to a number of questions on their social media behavior and related attitudes. Demographic information was also collected. The data set provided for this project is a subset of the total dataset and includes 1000 randomly chosen respondents indicating they had an active social media profile. The project data includes usage of social media sites; feelings about social media content, perceptions of how much they believe social media sites know about them and the role social media has in knowledge dissemination; as well as their location, age, family income, race, religion, marital status, education level, and gender.
Note that various scales are used to collect the data (these are indicated in the variable view in the SPSS data file). Some can be considered interval, whereas others are nominal or ordinal. The measurement scale used to collect the data and the research question will determine the appropriate statistical technique to use to answer the research questions below. All of the research questions below can be addressed using the statistical techniques we cover in this unit.
You are to address and answer each of the research questions below. Your answer should be in the format of a written report detailing the main findings of the three research questions, including technical appendices. Details of the specific expectations for this format are outlined in the Appendix – Report Format.
A marking guide is also outlined below. Each question requires the use of a different statistical technique we have covered in this unit. The data has been cleaned and responses that should not be included in the analysis (e.g., refusal to answer) are specified as ‘missing data’.
When writing up your managerial recommendations assume the client is a manager of a social media site that has commissioned this exploratory research to assist their understanding of some general perceptions of social media use (including potential negative effects), in terms of emotional reactions, feelings of intrusiveness and whether social media sites are seen to distract from important issues more than holding powerful people to account. Dependent on the findings consider how the social media manager can address these issues, and if relevant drive more positive perceptions of social media use.
1. Is there an association between how participants feel about the content on social media and their gender?
In this study the feelings about social media content investigated were:
These are measured on an ordinal scale.
2. Does education level influence how easy participants think it would be for social media sites to figure out there:
hobbies and interests,
religious beliefs, and
race or ethnicity?
The measurement scale used for their beliefs regarding social media site knowledge of their interests, beliefs, and ethnicity should be considered a Likert-type scale. In the US education system, an Associate’s degree is a two-year qualification often provided by a community college (similar to an Australian TAFE qualification).
3. Do respondents think social media makes it
easier to hold powerful people accountable for their actions, or
distracts people from issues that are truly important?