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Investigation of the Use of Synchronous Text-Based Communication Technologies by Undergraduate University Students

Title: An Investigation of the Use of Synchronous Text-Based Communication Technologies by Undergraduate University Students.
Name(s): Austin, Richard John, author
Burnett, Gary, professor directing dissertation
Arpan, Laura, university representative
Kazmer, Michelle, committee member
Lustria, Mia, committee member
School of Library and Information Studies, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation presents the results of an exploratory study which examined the use of synchronous text-based communication technologies (SMS texting and instant messaging) by undergraduate university students generally 18 to 24 years old. Preliminary focus groups were conducted in order to gain additional understanding of their usage of these communication technologies and to help refine the final questions used in the online survey. About a third of the over 200 students contacted, participated in the online survey investigating their usage of these technologies. The study revealed that among this group, SMS texting is the most frequently used synchronous text-based technology but many are also using other types such as Facebook Chat and instant messaging. This group used multiple devices to conduct their communications with text-enabled cell phones and laptop computers being the most widely used. While mobility is claimed to be an important advantage of these devices and technologies, over 82% of their communications take place from their home, dorm room, or workplace. The students also find these synchronous text-based technologies to be overwhelmingly effective for communicating with friends, siblings, and acquaintances but much less so for communicating with parents, teachers, and employers. One unanticipated finding from the study was that 37% of the undergraduate students were actually over 24 years old. This finding opened up another avenue of investigation, a comparison of the responses of the students from the two age groups. Numerous measurable differences were discovered between the two age groups when their responses we analyzed. Finally, the study explored some relevant theories which may explain in part or in whole the texting behaviors of undergraduate students as observed in the study. Three theories that fall into this category were examined: Media Richness Theory, the Technology Acceptance Model, and the Uses and Gratifications Theory.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-5316 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Library and Information Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: October 25, 2012.
Keywords: College Students, Information Behavior, Instant Messaging, SMS, Technology, Texting
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Gary Burnett, Professor Directing Dissertation; Laura Arpan, University Representative; Michelle Kazmer, Committee Member; Mia Lustria, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Library science
Information science
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Austin, R. J. (2012). An Investigation of the Use of Synchronous Text-Based Communication Technologies by Undergraduate University Students. Retrieved from