An Experimental Social Psychology Survey on Social Media & Student Behavior
The topic: Social media’s impact on academic procrastination.
Why did I choose to design a study and write a paper on social media and procrastination?
Because we all know that students like to take their time typing that essay or studying for that exam, and spending time on social media is one way of alleviating the pressure of beating the deadline or cramming facts into one’s memory (oddly enough) at the very last minute.
While I’m not an expert yet, I intend to take courses on SEO and social media analytics to follow online trends and learn more about consumer behavior. During the course of my graduate career, I want to earn a Certificate in Media Management along with my Masters of Arts degree in Media Studies by the time I finally get my diploma.
Trends in online user behavior, particularly social media, have intrigued me since my years as an undergraduate student, especially when it came to understanding how popular new and emerging social networking platforms were being used by fellow millennials.
At the time when I had designed my own survey and written this experimental social psychology paper, back in 2010, Facebook was rapidly gaining more traction as a social networking site among high school and college students. It edged out and obsolesced MySpace and AOL Instant Messenger. Most of us (including myself, if I’m being truthful) used Facebook as a stress-relief outlet for cognitive rest from arduous tasks (such as studying, researching peer-reviewed articles, or writing a term paper). In short: social media helped me procrastinate.
For this study, I used a small random sample of high school and college students in the New York City area and had them answer an online survey that I designed after adapting it from Solomon and Rothblum’s aptly named 1984 Procrastination Assessment Scale–Students (PASS). As for the questions surrounding social media (i.e. Facebook) usage, I also included survey items that were adapted from a 28-item questionnaire developed by Ross, Orr, Sisic, Arseneault, Simmering, and Orr (2009). The questionnaire by Ross et al. was originally meant to correlate with items in the NEO-PI-R scale to assess personality along the Five-Factor Model domains. Since this study was not interested in studying aspects of personality or in correlating personality factors with privacy concerns, those particular personality questions were not included in the survey created for this study.
Being able to track and leverage social media usage—who, what, where, and how it’s being used—can inform us about our society, culture, and values. This allows us to observe people’s behaviors not just locally or nationally, but ultimately on a global scale, thereby providing us with new avenues for cultural insights into the global village.
Currently, I’m interested in how studying these user trends from social media analytics play a key role in publicity and marketing, and predicting future trends in online and print publishing.
Below is the entire research paper I wrote for my experimental social psychology class when I used to be a psych major during my undergraduate years at Hunter College. I didn’t know it at the time, but my interests were always somehow related to media and publishing, even when I had tried to pursue a career path in the sciences. But I’m glad that I stuck with exploring the impact of social media on everyday behavior, rather than focusing on clinical psychology topics. I eventually submitted this paper as my writing sample when I had applied to the Media Studies MA program at The New School.
Lucky for me, I got in. Here it is, for your reading pleasure:
If you’re having a hard time viewing it above, you can download the full view of my research paper by clicking here.