We are now in the final stretch of our research, and our focus has shifted from the preliminary stages of planning to the real grind of preparation. We have now been approved by the International Review Board and have formulated questions which both effectively gather the necessary information while retaining the ethical boundaries and respect for our participants. Professor Gosnell and I have decided to focus our topic of provisional support via social media to a few more specific topics. These include memory and retention of support provision as well as an interactive component which will allow participants to further delve into their own, personal experience with support provision and how they may be effected by it. In a further step Dr. Gosnell and I have considered the concept of an interactive component in which students will have the opportunity to participate in a theoretical posting which they can provide support for in real time. This will allow participants to evaluate how they might react when prompted to provide support over an online forum. We have narrowed our studies to focus most specifically on Facebook, which is most frequently used to address social or emotional topics, and additionally included a few prompts about the use of Instagram, which has quickly become one of the most used platforms for digital exchange.
The biggest challenge that Dr. Gosnell and I have been faced with is maintaining focus on the important aspects of our research rather than becoming more vague, but widely inclusive. This was a concept I struggled with as there was so much to explore on this topic since so little research has been carried out before. Past research has richly explored the concept of support, but only in the ways in which it effected those receiving support and the concept of capitalization. This method of study will allow us to further understand the way in which we as people are affected by the support we provide. I am very much looking forward to further analyzing the effects of support provision hands-on. We plan to begin running our participant sessions within the next week, which will allow us time to make any minor tweaks and changes necessary to collect the most applicable data possible.