The ways people develop as researchers has been studied, though there is limited understanding of how this occurs through the use of social media. With the rise of virtual ethnography and content analysis, more of what is written and communicated online can be studied, though this often appears in final form, and does not necessarily help understand the steps and thresholds achieved during the course of study. Even through studying the blogs or microblogs of those who track and develop their research in process, it can be challenging to understand the moments when some transformational experience and its subsequent understanding occurs in the academic growth of those engaged in graduate or doctoral research studies. Educational researchers need to better understand the experiences of adult learners who recognize when they have made significant perspective or paradignmatic shifts in their academic thinking, as this may help in designing learning experiences to assist future learners who will continue to use social media in their academic work.
What is the experience of adult learners who develop their academic research understanding through the use of social media, such as blogging or microblogging?
The purpose of this research is to understand how adult learners navigate through their growth in understanding research through using social media as tools for reflectivity, self-expression, feedback, and collaboration. Using the frameworks of threshold concepts and transformative learning, I want to explore how they are processed by those who use engage in their work in a public space where identity development takes place in a more transparent manner than learning has done before.