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Thesis Irb Research Proposal

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    Research Proposal for Norwich IRB

    This study will investigate if Facebook, the frequency of use, number of friends, and connectedness to the campus affects participants over all well-being and stress levels in regards to social networking sites like Facebook. A series of questionnaires are used to evaluate participants before and after each stage of the study. The participants are grouped according to how often they use Facebook and to measure their reactions to restrictions placed on Facebook usage and any differences based on their assigned group.

    Predicted conclusions are that the participants who used Facebook the most before the study will notice the biggest change either in the amount of stress or depression. Statement of the research problem. Social networking began recently in college communities with Facebook and has been little studied. The purpose of this research is to examine whether Facebook and other social networking sites affect stress levels. Do sites like Facebook and MySpace have a true effect on how users feel about their life, virtual self, love life, and their productivity? Does social networking lead to increased multitasking?

    Many articles describe the benefits social networking sites could have on preparedness and assimilation into groups. DeAndrea, et al (2011), said that since the invention of social media sites students have been doing better in their first year of college due to an increased level of connectedness towards both their schools and peers. A sense of connectedness increases the confidence students have in them to approach others for help, which leads to better grades. And others like Hrastinski and Denne(2006) the ways that new technologies are being used as learning tools.

    Social media is a readily accessible way to distribute mass amounts of information to many people but also for one person to ask questions and for everyone on the site to be able to see the answer. An example of this would be Norwich Universities NUoodle, but a future use could be virtual classrooms utilizing tools like Skype or ooVoo. Facebook groups are also popular to distribute information. Clubs and organizations use them to let members know about meetings and events, cancellations and rescheduling. Other studies discuss the affects social media has on personal and emotional development.

    Junghyun and Roselyn(2011) discuss Facebook’s effects on general happiness. In their study the main component of happiness was friends. They looked at the number of friends that a person has and the impact that number had on a person’s “subjective well-being”. If the participant has a large number of friends the were more likely to feel that they had a lot of support but without the ability to make the deep personal connection required for true friendship with all the people on their lists. They also discussed the comments left on the subject’s status.

    The subjects assume that just because their Facebook friends comment on statuses, that they are showing true compassion even though most of those people would not say the same thing or show the same levels of concern in a day to day conversation. In a similar fashion Pea and Nass(2012) studied the way that electronic multitasking affected the emotional growth of young girls’ age’s eight to twelve. Their study found that this multitasking was detrimental to the girls’ emotional growth. When the girls formed connections over the electronic devices instead of in person they failed to learn the subtle nuances of body language and speech.

    The researchers encouraged parents to limit time spent using electronic communication in order to support their children’s social success and a sense of normalcy. Both Zwier et al(2011), and, Junghyun & Roselyn(2012) wrote about the way the online environment affects people’s portrayal of themselves and the effect that had on the subject. Zwier writes that online communities allow the subjects to create a version of them that is true, better than themselves, or both. This is a person’s best possible self, the person they want to be.

    The sites online limit the possibility for being judged negatively because the subject can allow on the things they want to be known be seen. Junghyun & Roselyn(2011) wrote about the two types of representation in detail. They said that there are two types: positive and honest representation. When a subject uses positive representation it is because he or she wants to portray their self in the best possible way, posting only the most flattering pictures, only posts that match their ideal personality, and material that will interest the people they want to impress or attract.

    Honest representation means that the subject tends to put true representations of themselves in pictures, posts, and content. In another light there where some studies that covered the effect that social media and new technology have had on industries such as business and medicine. Reid explains how the majority of the business world has already expanded in the world of new technologies. There is a growing need for jobs in the IT department because of this. Bosses now want all the tasks done sooner, better, and presented more efficiently; Email, PowerPoint, and other technology makes this possible.

    Small businesses are also jumping on this new tool through they are using it in different ways. Many small businesses are using programs to make their own business cards, Blogging sites to get advice from other small business owners, and online social networks to get free advertising. He did mention that there was an issue with this free advertising, legally anything that is posted on Facebook is then property of Facebook. There are pending law suits over pictures posted and then used for advertising by companies owned by Facebook, Inc.

    Glassy(2010), Merchant(2011), and Schmidt(2012) all covered different applications of social media on medicine. E. F. Glassy is a pathologist and explains social media’s uses in his field. He suggests a site similar to Facebook specifically for medical professionals to let the medical professionals more freely exchange ideas and get opinion’s about patients. It could also spread awareness about cases of abnormal conditions and more readily discover treatments. He also suggests that hospitals use social media to send patient reminders for tests, appointments, prescriptions, and possibly things as major as organ donation.

    Merchant(2011) and Schmidt(2012) cover a slightly different topic. They focus on alerting the public in cases of major health crisis. Schmidt(2012) covers the new way the CDC ( Center for Disease Control) monitors outbreaks of the flu and other illnesses. They have partnered with Google to track the frequency in which people search for symptoms. He used the analogy that when we have the flu we search for its symptoms in order to self-diagnose the same way we would search for a new song after hearing it for the first time.

    Merchant(2011) discusses what should be done with social media to alert the public if the CDC and Google confirm an outbreak or pandemic. With today’s smart phones and almost 24 hour a day access to Facebook, there is a potential changing the way today’s youth experience emergencies; a toy recall could now be as easy as a Facebook message. The only article that came close to covering my original question was one written by Gershon(2011). He conducted a study examining the affects that social networking sites, specifically Facebook, have on romantic relationships.

    This study used Indiana University students who were in romantic relationships or recently broken up and who had or where using Facebook. Gershon(2011) conducted interviews with 72 students and asked them about how social media sites had affected their relationship under the guise of writing a self-help book. Students sited Facebook as making them anxious, jealous, and over monitoring other people. They said it caused fights between themselves and their spouses because of the amount of information shared with others and the unclear amount of intimacy that is associated with this information.

    That is when I found an article by Gyudong, Jaeeun, and Soonjae(2011); three psychologists form south Korea. They measured the effects of self-disclosure, socioeconomic status, and subjective well-being. To measure the components of subjective well-being they used a self-reported affect schedule and a satisfaction scale. A positive affect is the extent to which a person feels certain positive emotions and a negative affect is the extent to which a person feels certain negative emotions. The scale used to measure these affects measures the emotions a person feels in his or her daily life.

    The life satisfaction scale measures the self-reported conditions of life. Then the Aggregated subjective well-being was obtained by averaging the value for both scales. In order to implement the scales they designed a survey to collect information on a popular Korean social networking site called Cyworld. com. To choose subjects they collected data about their social networking site usage. The researchers asked how often the subject used the site in a week, how many visits their site got a week, and how many months they had been a member of the site. This information was used to measure their network size and their network use.

    They used a sample size of 217 participants recruited for a large South Korean university and compensated them with course credit. Following Soonjae et al(2011), this study will investigate the effect that social networking sites have on a subject’s well-being. In this study subjects would be chosen by assigning them a Facebook score using a questionnaire about the frequency of their Facebook use. This score would put the subject into one of three groups. After the groups have been assigned each group would be required to change their Facebook use to fit the stage of the study.

    The study will have three stages each a week long, that will require the subjects to use Facebook a specified amount for that week. Stage one would require the subjects to not use Facebook at all, stage two would allow only moderate Facebook use, and stage three would require all subjects to use Facebook very frequently. At the completion of each stage all subjects would take debriefing questionnaires to measure mood, anxiety, and depression. 6. Detailed description of the research design. This study will utilize three questionnaires. First is a questionnaire to determine each subject’s Facebook score.

    Questions on this questionnaire will inquire about how often a subject uses Facebook, how many Facebook friends they have, activities they like on Facebook, and questions about their daily life when not engaged with Facebook. At the completion of each stage of the study each participant will be asked to fill out Depression Adjective Checklist to evaluate their mood and depression, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to evaluate their anxiety. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory is a definitive instrument for measuring anxiety in adults.

    It has forty questions with a range of four possible responses to each and differentiates between the temporary condition of “state anxiety” and the more general and long-standing quality of “trait anxiety”. The Depression Adjective Checklist measures either State Mood or Trait Mood dependent on how the subject feels “right now” or how they feel “in general”. The subject is to endorse all the adjectives that apply to them. For both of these questionnaires to apply to the study the subjects would be asked to answer based on how they feel about the most recently completed stage.

    Each will take about five minutes. There will be one independent variable which will have three levels. Each user will be assigned a Facebook score in response to the initial questionnaire which gathers information about the usual frequency with which the subject uses Facebook. All subjects will then be assigned a group to represent their Facebook score: low, medium, or high. There will be four dependent variables which will be measured by questionnaires which have been already mentioned; anxiety, mood, involvement, and depression. The study will last three weeks and each week will be a new stage.

    Week one will consist of no face book use, week two will be moderate Facebook use, and week three will be very frequent Facebook use. At completion of each stage all participants will complete another questionnaire based on a Likert scale to measure changes in their mood, anxiety, and depression. To analyze the data a one-way ANOVA with repeated measures will be used to measure the effect of Facebook usage. 7. Description of the study population, sampling methodology, and criteria for selection of subjects. The 45 participants will be Norwich University students recruited either by flyers posted on the campus or from psychology courses.

    All participants will be compensated with refreshments at the close of each stage in the study. No further selection criteria will be used based on gender, race or ethnicity. It is assumed that the sample will be randomly representative of the college population. 8. Your assessment of the risks and potential benefits to human subjects. Participants may benefit by partaking in this study by learning about how Facebook is affecting their own lives as well as learning how research is conducted in psychology and how data is used to establish norms for human behavior.

    The manipulation of time spent on Facebook may have a positive effect on the subjects study habits. Risk to participants is minimal and in the nature of everyday life. One questionnaire may make many of the participants revaluate the depth of their Facebook relationships. Some participants that have come to rely on Facebook for daily communication and scheduling may feel some additional stress. Participants will be informed of the availability of the university’s councelor should this result in any negative side effects. 9. Informed consent procedure. The participants’ right to informed consent will be respected throughout this study.

    Participants will be told before answering any questionnaires that the questionnaires ask for personal information regarding Facebook and that if they are chosen for the study they will be expected to modify their Facebook usage. Participants will be informed that all data files will be coed anonymously and their scores will not be associated with their names. Before participating in this study they will be asked to read and sign a informed consent form(see attached) and told that their participation is voluntary and they have the right do leave the study at any time without penalty.

    Their signature on the form will be evidence that they felt adequately informed about the benefits and risks involved with the study as well as their rights as a participant. See attached Informed Consent Form 10. Describe procedures for insuring the confidentiality of data and anonymity of subjects. When filling out the first questionnaire the subject will be asked to create his or her own three digit code and remember and use it for the duration of the study such that there will never be a name attached to the files. Thus, all data will be anonymous and consent forms will be kept in a secure location separate from the data files. 1. Feedback sheet or explanation of procedures for subject feedback. In order to ensure that the subjects comply with the Facebook restrictions they will be told at the beginning of the study that it is measuring their reactions to those restrictions. Participants will be given the opportunity for feedback on the Informed Consent form. 12. Other documentation that the researcher feels would help the committee better evaluate the proposal. a. Facebook Score Questionnaire (Authored by Shawna Gibson) b. Depression Adjective Checklist c. State-Trait Anxiety Inventory See attached forms. Statement of compliance.

    The following statement of compliance must appear on all proposals submitted for review: To the best of my knowledge , the plan of conduct for this research conforms with the policies and procedures for the use of human subjects at Norwich University. Signature of the Researcher(s) Date Faculty sponsor statement of approval. Faculty sponsors of student research must submit an approval statement that describes the nature of the project, the faculty member’s relationship to the project (e. g. instructor, thesis chair), and procedures for monitoring student work on the project.

    The faculty sponsor must also include the following statement of compliance in their approval: To the best of my knowledge, the plan of conduct for this research conforms with the policies and procedures for the use of human subjects at Norwich University Signature of the Instructor(s) DateDepartment(s) All proposals must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Human Subjects in Research Committee not less than eight working days (Monday-Friday) prior to the published meeting dates of the Committee.

    Checklist for the Informed Consent • It should be written in the first person e. g. , “I understand that I will be participating voluntarily in an experiment on . . . “ •It should include a statement indicating that the individual can: 1. withdraw at any time from the experiment 2. can withdraw without penalty e. g. , loss of extra credit •Tell the participant you will ensure confidentiality. If you can also guarantee anonymity, say that as well. •Indicate that if the participant has any questions they can be addressed either to you or to me, Prof. Carole Bandy, Dept. f Psychology, Norwich University, 485-2346. Informed Consent I understand that I will be participating voluntarily in a 40 minute experiment on personality types, conducted by a Norwich psychology major. I further understand that I am free to withdraw from the experiment without penalty should I so desire. I understand as well that the experimenter will keep all information that I give in strict confidence. [Anonymity will also be guaranteed in that my name will not be used at any time and even the experimenter will not be able to connect my answers with my name. If I have any questions about this experiment I can contact Shawna Gibson at [email protected] norwich. edu or Prof. Carole Bandy in the Dept. of Psychology at Norwich University at 485-2346. I do____ do not_____ wish to be given feedback on the results of the study when it is complete. If I wish to have feedback then I will give an address below where I may be contacted.

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