Investigating the social media literacies of female undergraduates in English:an ethnographic case study from Saudi Arabia

Bin Dahmash, Nada (2019) Investigating the social media literacies of female undergraduates in English:an ethnographic case study from Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This PhD research investigated the literacies of Saudi female undergraduates that emerged as they used English on social media. My research participants were Saudi female users who were studying English Language and Translation at a university in Saudi Arabia. I draw on Literacy Studies (LS), which understands literacies as social practices involving more than technical skills. By means of a connective approach to ethnography, I conducted detailed online observation of these Saudi female undergraduates on social media, had repeated informal conversations, held semi-structured interviews and focus-group interviews, and kept an online log of English usage on social media. This thesis focuses on the conceptualisation of social media by these Saudi female undergraduates, the literacy practices that emerge in English on social media, the reasons for using English, the material resources and concrete activities they employed as they read and wrote, as well as illustrating how they projected their identities in English on social media. The findings indicate that these Saudi female undergraduates’ understandings of social media were affected by three factors: the perceived roles of social media, their understanding of the basic components of social media and their personal histories of social media. Social media is defined as Internet-based smartphone apps that perform various roles in the lives of their users, as well as enabling users to post content and interact with large numbers of other users on a regular basis via an account with a unique code. These Saudi female undergraduates had diverse and tangled literacy practices in English on social media that were part of their everyday lives. These undergraduates chose to use English for various reasons and drew on a wide range of approaches as they read and wrote in English on social media. The findings also indicate that these Saudi female undergraduates projected their identities in English by displaying certain character traits on their social media profiles and displaying their current feelings and situations. The findings of this research have implications for language educators and language learners based on the in-depth accounts of the English literacies of these female undergraduates and the approaches they drew on to correct, craft and improve their English. These approaches involved the use of Google app, Google Translate app, Dictionary apps, the COCA website, asking people online or offline, and changing the default settings of their smartphone English keyboards.

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Thesis (PhD)
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14 May 2019 11:35
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 01:40