I’ve decided to research the role of language on identity in teenage girls. I have a niece who is a junior in high school. I plan to observe her and her some of friends on Facebook. I’m hoping to be able to determine how much of this specific group’s identity is linked to their actions and language online. Does it restrict their language or allow more freedom? Do they write differently online than they would speak to those same friends in person or on the phone? I’m still trying to flush out exactly what that will entail, but I think with some additional thought and information I will be able to figure it out.
The majority of the participants will be in the age range of 14-18 years old. I’ve put together some information for the parents of the participants. The parents will have the information about the research as well as the opportunity to not allow their child to participate. The interests of the participants will vary within the group, however, I think they will have overlapping interests with my niece who is part of many different groups in her high school. Most of the girls will attend Palmer High School and be part of some of the same social circles.
I will play an interesting role in the research. I will have to friend the participants (aside from my niece who I’m already friends with on Facebook) and then I will focus on observation. But the problem then arises that because I am also friends with the participants we are linked, so to speak. In that sense, the research cannot be completely objective. I don’t think this will be a problem, but it is something to think about when I compile the research at the end of the semester.
I think Facebook is an interesting site because it allows people to speak openly and frequently with people without seeing them in person. Interestingly, people that are within the same social circle and see one another everyday, still communicate on Facebook on a regular basis. I’m focusing strictly on young women, mostly because I think focusing on both sexes will be too much for this particular project. That being said, I think I might be able to use this as a possible thesis topic and expand it to potentially include other groups of people.