Methodology

After surveying the field for similar studies, the methodology most preferred for this study is based on Brant, et al (2006), which focused on social shaping of technology (SST) by adolescence in the United States, and a recent Korean study that established correlations between choices of communication medium relative to social networks and employment (Kim et al, 2007).

This study employed the services of an online survey host, SurveyMonkey.com, to randomly and anonymously collect data from students and faculty at Northern Illinois University. The Office of Research and Compliance, Northern Illinois University gave institutional Review Board approval for the research questions and structure of survey. Survey data was collected between November 14, 2008 and December 1, 2008. The target population was 2,000 and the sample collected was 173.

The descriptive survey employed semantic differential scales with interval level questions. In addition, nominal and ordinal questions were stated in a cross-sectional design intended to understand participant’s perception of SIT usage during the Fall 2008 semester attending communication courses within the Department of Communication.

First soliciting professors, instructors and graduate teaching assistants to consider recruiting their students to participate in the study achieved the random sampling of participants. With the exception of 50 students attending the author’s COMS 100 courses, the balance of students was not solicited directly by the author, but rather by their professor. An e-mail containing a recruiting statement and instructions to the survey was sent to each professor, who ultimately decided to allow their students to participate. If they choose to, the recruiting statement and survey URL was forward to their students who used any computer to connect to SurveyMoneky.com and complete the survey. No personal identifying information was collected, e.g., name, social security number, address, during the survey however, at the completion of the survey, participants were then given a choice to complete a participation form for research credit consideration, a form that was external to the survey but linked via a hyperlink. The participation form did not collect participant’s responses. Lastly, participants were given the option of exiting the survey before completing it without penalty.

The structure of the survey is summarized by variable, unit of measurement and dependent variable. See Table 2: Measurements.