Gender tales in computer-mediated communication
Laila Taylor-Nelms, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States
Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded
My study explores the origin of and extent to which gendered communication styles exist in two online classrooms. I define gendered communication to mean language differences often noted by researchers who examine language choices males and females make. Divergent language choices can cause each sex to misinterpret and possibly, demean the other's statements. Researchers suggest that men, for example, write longer messages, initiate new topics, issue more directives, conclusions, and abstract opinions more often than women. Women, on the other hand, tend to express agreement, ask opinions, interject more qualifiers, share personal experiences, and issue disclaimers more often than men. This qualitative study investigated the existence of gendered communication styles and status-dominance language and the ways they both affect and are affected by societal and biological constraints within society. The study's methodology utilized non-participant observation strategies in a study of two online courses offered by New York's PBS station. I drew data from three sources: pre-course and post-course surveys, telephone interviews, and content analysis. Although I found evidence of gendered communication styles and status dominance language, I also uncovered a richness of gendered behaviors online lending support to a more textured view of individuals within gendered groups in society.
Taylor-Nelms, L. Gender tales in computer-mediated communication. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University.
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