How to conduct sociolinguistic research in online public video

Sutton, Selina Jeanne (2021) How to conduct sociolinguistic research in online public video. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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There has been an increase in the sharing of video, and thus speech, in social media. Yet research has focused on written language. Considering our communications are continually becoming more computer-mediated, researching of the impact of such interaction contexts upon our speech is overdue. In this thesis I ask, “how can we conduct sociolinguistic research in online public video?”. Sociolinguistics is the study of the interplay between social factors and speech. Four key aspects that construct a sociolinguistic research method are identified - i) Formulating Research Questions, ii) Ethics, iii) Selecting Linguistic Variables, and iv) Statistical Analysis - and theorised in relation to online public video research. A case study is used as a vehicle through which the research practices of these four key aspects are explored.

The case study asks, “Is speech influenced by written comments in online public video?”. YouTube is rationalised as an interaction context where explicit feedback is received via viewer comments, but who is commenting is ambiguous. Hence, the sociolinguistic theory under examination is Audience Design which assumes intraspeaker variation is an automatic response to one’s audience. It is hypothesised that a YouTuber will adjust their speech as they gain information about their audience via the comments. This thesis reports on the quantitative analysis of comments and the speech variable uptalk, as well as an online ethnography that motivates the quantitative analysis of a second speech variable, word-medial trochaic /t/. The relationship between the comments and speech appears to be dependent upon the YouTuber’s career stage and their engagement with the comments.

The contributions of this thesis are illustrating the value of considering speech when researching social media, and defining resources to guide sociolinguistically-aligned research in online public video.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: computer-mediated communication, social media, human-computer interaction, online ethnography, social computing
Subjects: G500 Information Systems
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 07:38
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 08:00

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