Knowing through asynchronous time and space: A phenomenological study of students' online interactions
Ping Yang, Arizona State University, United States
Arizona State University . Awarded
This study takes a phenomenological approach in studying the intersections of cultural identity, technology, and communication. Teaching both online and offline classes for many years at the college level has triggered my research interest in intercultural online interactions. In consideration of the increasing globalization and Internet access, there needs to be more research studying the use of the Internet in the intercultural communication area. Therefore, this research explores the intercultural communication experiences of students online. Specifically, it investigates the issues of identity construction and expression among U.S. college students of different cultural backgrounds in a virtual community.
Increasing access to the Internet creates new contexts for cultural identity development. For a study which seeks to understand the complex realities of people's behaviors, qualitative research methods are appropriate. Phenomenology allows the researcher to examine students' intercultural online experiences as they exist in a social, cultural, and historical time and place. Research results of the current study revealed students' modes of consciousness in expressing their cultural selves through the use of symbols and revelation of cultural differences. The fluidity and contextualization of online identity interacts with status, power, and students' offline identity. The lived experiences of students enable individuals to experience other people's modality of experiencing and become aware of the power structures at play. The neomatic variety seen through experiences of both dominant and marginalized groups helps transform the life world of each individual. Research findings provide knowledge for more meaningful intercultural online contacts in the future.
Yang, P. Knowing through asynchronous time and space: A phenomenological study of students' online interactions. Ph.D. thesis, Arizona State University.
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