ERIC Number: ED470078
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Nov
Women and Men in Online Discussion: Are There Differences in Their Communication?
Davidson-Shivers, Gayle V.; Morris, Samantha
This paper describes two studies involving men and women who participated in online discussions in a Web-based graduate course. The purpose of both studies was to examine the frequency and types of response these students made during the course chats and threaded discussions. The first study took place at the end of the course in a two-week period. Students were divided into two small groups: one group discussed the assigned topic via chat, while the other group discussed the same topic via threaded discussion. The following week, these groups switched discussion formats to discuss a second topic. Results of the first study indicate that both chats and threaded discussion (the primary focus of the original study) were valued and had utility. However, an unanticipated result indicated a variation in the number and type of statements made with one of the small groups versus the other. It was found that the majority-female group made more frequent statements than the majority-male group. This finding was contrary to the review of research in regard to two points: (1) results and discussion that indicate online discussion is an equalizer between men and women and (2) results that indicate females were less involved. Other discussions of students using both online formats at various points within the same course and semester were examined. Results of the second study indicate that there were some differences in the types of statements, but the amount of statements made by both genders on average was equivalent within mixed-gender, large group discussions in the sampled four weeks. The findings of this second study confirmed studies that indicate gender equity in computer-mediated communication. However, the initial study's results are still viable. It is possible that when in same gender groups, the genders use typical communication styles in discussion and when in mixed gender groups, the discussions are equivalent in number of statements for both genders. Additional research is necessary into this issue of gender and online discussion. (Contains 28 references.) (Author/AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Annual Proceedings of Selected Research and Development [and] Practice Papers Presented at the National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (24th, Atlanta, GA, November 8-12, 2001). Volumes 1-2; see IR 021 504.