Dissertation Chapter Example on Social Media Use and Influence

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Harvey Mudd College
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Dissertation chapter
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Chapter four: Results

The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate factors that influencing decisions made by graduate students to select a university for pursuing their graduate programs in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. This study emphasized two factors. The first factor was social media and the second factor that was highlighted in this research is universitys website.

This chapter presents and discusses the results of the analyses conducted for this study. Initially, a series of descriptive statistics are presented and reported, which consist of the sample sizes and percentages of response associated with each response category for all categorical variables of interest included within this study. Several cases were removed from these analyses due to the presence of missing data. This consisted of demographic variables relating to the study sample as well as the Likert-scale and other related items relating to the survey questionnaire. Following this, a series of reliability analyses were conducted using Cronbachs alpha in order to determine the level of internal consistency reliability associated with the scale items included within this study. Finally, a series of regression analyses were conducted in order to test this studys hypotheses.

Sample description

The research methodology used in this study was an online survey research. Surveymonkey.com was utilized as the online survey vendor to facilitate data collection. The sample size required in this study was 420 respondents,  according to Zibatlas Chicago (2016), the graduate students of 2016 in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs was estimated 180,581 based on the statistical analyses proposed in order to determine the minimum sample size which this study targeted. SurveyMonkey.com distributed the survey on behalf of the researcher using their emailing list of graduate studentsin Chicago and the surrounding suburbs on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. An invitation letter was sent via email fromSurveyMonkeyon their email distribution list. Participants were directed to the web-based survey and asked them to complete the survey voluntarily. The total numbers of participants to this study in the first two weeks were 55 participants. During the second two weeks 216 more responses were received. On Thursday, March 2, 2017 the same invitation letter was resent via email from SurveyMonkey.com to the graduate students in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. In the fifth week 20 more responses were received; in the sixth week there were 14. In the seventh week there were no responses. On Friday, March 17, 2017 the survey was closed. Due to missing responses and reliability issues, the sample size used featured 292 respondents. The results were downloaded in the form of Microsoft excel before being uploaded into SPSS for data analysis.

Descriptive Statistics

First, Table 1 summarizes the results of the descriptive statistics conducted on the demographic and related measures included within this study. With regard to respondent gender, 161 (55.1%) of respondents were male, with 131 (44.9%) being female. Next, with regard to respondent age, 43 (14.7%) of respondents were found to be between the ages of 18 and 35, while 110 (37.7%) of the sample were found to be between the ages of 36 and 45. Next, 99 (33.9%) of individuals were found to be between the ages of 46 and 55, with 38 (13%) of the sample being between the ages of 56 and 65. Finally, 2 (1%) of the sample were found to be aged 66 or above.

Next, with regard to marital status, 121 (41%) of the sample was found to be married, with slightly over 56 (19%) being single. Next, 57 (20%) of respondents were found to be divorced, with 35 (12%) being widowed, and 23 (8%) being separated. Finally, with regard to income level, 39 (13%) of respondents had an income below $25,000, and with 70 (24%) having an income between $25,000 and $35,000. Next, 112 (38%) of the sample was found to have an income between $35,000 and $55,000, with 62 (21%) having an income between $55,000 and $100,000. Finally, 9 (3% )of the sample was found to have an income above $100,000.

From the results of this table, it is evident that majority were male students. However, the gap between male and female students is also not that wide. Therefore, the results may be applied to all students regardless of their gender. With regards to age, majority were falling within the bracket of 36-45 years. Today, the youth are expected to be active participants in social media. Marital status is also an important aspect when trying to determine the factors influencing the choice of Universities. The presence of different individual marital status will ensure that factors such as moral and financial support are also taken into consideration. Finally, to access the university, students will need to have sufficient funds. This is why income levels are also considered. Majority earned $35000-$55000. Those earning below $25000 were also included in the survey.

Table 1

Descriptive Statistics: Demographic and Related Measures

Measure / N / %


Male / 161 / 55.1%

Female / 131 / 44.9%


18-35 / 43 / 14.7%

36-45 / 110 / 37.7%

46-55 / 99 / 33.9%

56-65 / 38 / 13.0%

66+ / 2.7%

Marital Status

Single / 56 / 19.2%





Income Level

Below $250003913.4%




Above $100,00093.1%

Next, Table 2 summarizes the descriptive statistics conducted on the measures relating to social media use influence. Focusing upon the yes respondents within this section, first, with regard to personal use, 51% of respondents were found to use Facebook, with slightly over 35% stating that they use LinkedIn. Next, close to 33%was found to use Twitter, with close to 25% using Google Plus, and close to 23% using Instagram. Next, with regard to University use, close to 47% of respondents responded positively with respect to the use of Facebook, with close to 37% stating that their university uses LinkedIn, slightly over 30% indicating that their university uses Twitter, and slightly over 17% indicating that their university uses Instagram. Additionally, close to 27% indicated that they use Google Plus. Following this, with regard to influence, slightly over 41% of respondents responded positively with regard to the influence of Facebook, with 38% responding positively with regard to the influence of LinkedIn. Following this, slightly over 31% of respondents provided a positive response with respect to the influence of Twitter, with slightly over30% providing a positive response with respect to the influence of Google Plus. Finally, slightly over 17% of respondents provided a positive response with respect to the influence of Instagram.

In this table 2, it is clear that 51% of the participants use Facebook for their personal use. However, the difference is not big as there are also many individuals who do not use Facebook as a form of social media with a percentage of 49%.LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and Instragram are all the least used by the study population. Majority indicated that they never use these sites for their personal use. For instance, 67.1 % of participants stated that they do not use Twitter, compared to 32.9% who use it. When it comes to using these sites for University purposes, it is clear that all five websites were unpopular. This is because majority indicated that they do not use them, compared to a minimal number of individuals who agreed that they use these site for University purposes. For example, Facebook, which was more popular in personal use has scored 46.9% for those who use it underUniversity use, compared to a no of 53.1% which represents those who do not use it. Finally, when it comes to being influenced by these sites, many graduates still claimed that the websites do not influence them that much. This is why majority have voted for no influence. For example,most people voted as not being influenced by Twitter as represented by a percentage of 68.5% compared to those who experienced an influence with a percentage of 31.5%.

Table 2

Descriptive Statistics: Social Media Use and Influence

Measure / No / Yes

Personal Use

Facebook / 143 / 49.0% / 149 / 51.0%

LinkedIn / 189 / 64.7% / 103 / 35.3%

Twitter / 196 / 67.1% / 96 / 32.9%

Google Plus / 220 / 75.3% / 72 / 24.7%

Instagram / 225 / 77.1% / 67 / 22.9%

University Use

Facebook / 155 / 53.1% / 137 / 46.9%

LinkedIn / 185 / 63.4% / 107 / 36.6%

Twitter / 204 / 69.9% / 88 / 30.1%

Google Plus / 214 / 73.3% / 78 / 26.7%

Instagram / 241 / 82.5% / 51 / 17.5%


Facebook / 172 / 58.9% / 120 / 41.1%

LinkedIn / 181 / 62.0% / 111 / 38.0%

Twitter / 200 / 68.5% / 92 / 31.5%

Google Plus / 203 / 69.5% / 89 / 30.5%

Instagram / 242 / 82.9% / 50 / 17.1%

Table 3 presents the descriptive statistics relating to the social media measures which were measured on the basis of frequency. First, with regard to checking social media, close to 26% of respondents responded with often, with 24% responding with frequently, slightly over 20% responding with very frequently, close to 20% responding with rarely, and slightly over 10% responding with seldom. Next, with regard to recommending, close to 35% of respondents replied with often,, with slightly over 27% of respondents replying with rarely, slightly over 20% responding with frequently, close to 10% responding with seldom, and close 8% responding with very frequently.

Next, respondents were asked whether they recommend the University website. Close to 32% of respondents replied with often, with close to 28% replying with rarely. Next, 24% of respondents replied with frequently, with close to 9% replying with seldom, and close to 8% replying with very frequently. Following this, with regard to the website being useful, slightly over 31% replied with often, with slightly over 26% replying with frequently, 24% replying with rarely, close to 13% replying with very frequently, and close to 7% replying with seldom. Finally, with respect to whether the website suffices, close to 37% replied with often, with slightly over 26% replying with rarely,slightly over 19% replying with frequently, slightly over 9% replying with seldom, and close to 9% replying with very frequently.

The results of this table 3 shows that most of the respondents do check their social media often. This is the highest percentage with 25.7%. Those who check frequently follow closely with a percentage of 24%. This shows that many individuals are indeed interested in what goes on in their social media compared to a low percentage of 10.3% who do not check their social media. In addition, those who recommend often are also the highest number with a percentage of 34.9%. However, in this case, those who rarely recommend follow with a 27.1% figure. This shows that there is a gamble here as it seems there are many who like to recommend websites while a slightly less number only rarely recommends. The same is also experienced in recommend university website whereby majority often recommend while many others prefer to rarely recommend the website. This is an important result as it shows that many individuals will most likely often recommend a university website. It will still be worth a try despite the fact that a close number will also rarely recommend. With regards to the usefulness of a website, majority still agree that they often found websites useful. In addition, a close figure of 26.4% agree that they found websites to be useful more frequently. This shows that indeed most students may find websites useful compared to a few who will find them as seldom useful. Lastly, when considering whether the website suffices, many indicated that it often sufficed. However, this may be contradicted by the fact that many also felt like the website rarely sufficied.

Table 3

Descriptive Statistics: Frequency of Social Media Items

Measure / Seldom / Rarely / Often / Freq. / Very Freq.

Check Social Media / 30 (10.3%) / 58 (19.9%) / 75 (25.7%) / 70 (24.0%)59 (...

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