Edited by M. Rafael Salaberry, Kate White and Alfred Rue Burch
[Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education 4:1] 2019
► pp. 126–144
The methodological affordances and challenges of using Facebook to research study abroad
Some study abroad (SA) researchers use Facebook as a tool to reach participants or as the site or context ofresearch. In Dressler and Dressler (2016), we examined the linguistic identitypositioning of one sojourner in Facebook posts over two sojourns. In this paper, we determine the methodological affordances andchallenges of the social media site as both a tool and context of research. We conclude that for the original study, usingFacebook enabled us to download large amounts of observational data and study the identity positioning over time. Throughout thedata collection, analysis, and writing, we encountered challenges regarding ownership of data, the dynamic nature of Facebook overthe two time periods of the study, the use of photographs, and our focus on the textual aspects of posting. From this analysis, weprovide recommendations for the use of Facebook in SA research moving forward.