The topic for this paper is to determine what is meant by social change from the perspective of graduate students today. The paper is organized into four parts. The first part presents a background statement concerning the issue of interest and the gap in the existing body of knowledge the study intends to address. A description concerning the role of the researcher is provided in the second part and an explanation concerning the process of gathering, organizing, and analyzing data to form the basis of the methods used in this study are presented in part three followed by the analysis and interpretation of those data. Finally, a discussion concerning the trustworthiness of the findings that emerged from this analysis and a summary of the research are presented in part four.
What you have learned about social change as a social issue. Because the historical record confirms that societies are generally dynamic rather than static, they are in a constant state of change and social change is therefore an inextricably interrelated social issue. Perhaps the overarching issue that emerged from the coursework was that innovations in telecommunications technologies in recent years have fundamentally changed the nature of social exchanges. For instance, according to Wayne (2015), "The advance of technology and the prevalence of social media are profoundly changing how we communicate, and in so doing, they are also changing who we are" (p. 3). Therefore, from social change relates to the constantly changing perspective of "who we are" as a society.
b. What you have learned about social change as a research problem. Support your insights with academic citations from the Learning Resources.
Social science researchers can use a wide array of tools to gain fresh insights into the phenomenon of social change, including qualitative research tools that use various theoretical perspectives (Hansen, 2009). Most of these research tools conceptualize social construction as "how the physical aspects of the world are seen to have independent existence [and] how the world is perceived (reality)" (Hansen, 2009, p. 6). Some of the more popular research strategies for developing new insights into the social world include those that stress "human interpretation, inductive reasoning, holistic understanding, qualitative data and contextualized explanation" (Hansen, 2009, p. 6).
c. Describe the gap that your study will address. Although social media platforms have assumed an unprecedented level of influence on social change, there remains a dearth of timely and relevant research concerning intergenerational differences in the usage patterns and purposes of social media use by the four different generational cohorts that are not active in the American workplace for the first time in history (Bleedorn, 2013).
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In this regard, Otsuki (2012) emphasizes that, "How this experience of participation itself can lead the participants to bring about, often tacitly, broader social transformation remains analytically elusive" (p. 201). Therefore, in order to help fill this gap, this study reviews three recent peer-reviewed journal articles concerning the impact of social media on rates and patterns of social change in recent years following using the researcher role described further below.
Part 2: Role of the Researcher
Review your analytic memos, field notes, etc., written during each aspect of the data collection process, and examine your role and experience and how that is shaping your experience (reflexivity).
Although the role of the researcher is comparable for both qualitative and quantitative studies (Neuman, 2003), the outcomes that can be achieved using these methods vary. While quantitative studies such as random clinical trials remain the gold standard for social science research, a growing number of researchers are using qualitative methods as well, most especially in those cases where gaining fresh insights into the lived experiences of respondents is the goal (Neuman, 2003). For example, according to Hansen (2009), "Qualitative research aims to provide detailed descriptions and analysis of the quality or substance of the human experience" (p. 5). In this context, the role of qualitative researchers is to develop a better understanding of the meanings of studied lived experiences including the interpretations that others assign to their behaviors as well as their own responses to various situations and events in real-world settings (Hansen, 2009).
Describe the roles you are portraying in this research effort (i.e., a graduate student, classmate, interviewer, etc.).
The principal researcher in this study assumed a graduate student role using qualitative research strategies.
Identify any ethical issues that could or did arise during the data collection processes (i.e., these could include doing a study within one's own work environment, conflict of interest, or power differentials).
Qualitative social science researchers are faced with some novel ethical issues that are not always shared by their quantitative counterparts. For instance, Harper and Thompson (2012) report that, "Confidentiality, privacy, informed consent, harm and power are particularly complex because of the interaction between participant and researcher, [and] the way qualitative interviews can cover unanticipated ground" (p. 237). Therefore, all respondents will be consented using an approved institutional review board instrument that is designed for that purpose.
Part 3: Results
The results of the review of the three selected peer-reviewed journal articles follow below.
American Psychological Association. (2002). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Bleedorn, G. (2013, January-February). Say hello to the Millennial generation: Millennials love to spend money and use mobile banking but winning their loyalty is not easy. ABA Bank Marketing, 45(1), 24-26.
Geraci, L. & Mcdaniel, M. A. (2009, March). The influence of age on memory for distinctive events. Memory & Cognition, 37(2), 175-181.
Hansen, E. C. (2006). Successful qualitative health research: A practical introduction. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Harper, D. & Thompson, A. R. (2012). Qualitative research methods in mental health and psychotherapy: A guide for students and practitioners. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Konieczny, P. (2014, July 1). Signs of a generational change in social movements-activists' use of modern information and communication technologies. Polish Sociological Review, 187, 261-266.
LaPelle, N. R. (2004). Simplifying qualitative data analysis using general purpose software tools. Preventive and Behavioral Medicine Publications and Presentations: Paper 84.
MacKay, A. W. (2015, January). Law as an ally or enemy in the war on cyberbullying: Exploring the contested terrain of privacy and other legal concepts in the age of technology and social media. University of New Brunswick Law Journal, 66, 3-10.
Miller, K. H. (2009, February). The law catches up with distance education Journal, 31(7), 31-37.
Miller, W. J. (2013, January). Show me, tell me: social media and the political awareness of American youth. Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, 37(1), 75-77.
Neuman, W. L. (2003). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. New York: Allyn & Bacon.