ERIC Number: ED442438
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Using Computer-Mediated Communication To Investigate Gender Identities in Higher Education.
This paper investigated the methodological challenges related to the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to investigate the impact of gender identity on student perceptions of university life. This longitudinal research project at the University of Cambridge (England) sought to determine the reasons for the disparity in numbers of first-class degrees awarded to women at Cambridge compared to other United Kingdom universities. The research questions focused on the perspectives/meanings reported by men and/or women within the institution; the different gender choices associated with different values or perspectives on society, with self-concept, and with institutional social processes; and the difference in gender choices and changes over time. The paper examines issues of"democratic exchange" in CMC interviews, and discusses the lack of physical cues, anonymity, and how social status or personality are projected within the constraints of an e-mail exchange. The paper also examines questions of on-line authenticity, noting that electronic networking opens possibilities for deception, and that there was no mechanism to ensure that messages continued to come from the same person over time. The study concludes, however, that rapport via e-mail interviews is possible, and that researchers and participants can find ways to compensate for the loss of embodiment. (Contains 37 references.) (CH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Cambridge Univ. (England).
Authoring Institution: N/A