Directorate of Research, Innovation and Development (DRID), the University of Media, Arts and Communication, UniMAC–Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), has deepened its commitment to expanding academic research in the country.
The directorate, in its eighth inter-faculty research seminar, released another research paper in a continuous attempt to close literature gaps in the academic space.
The Director of DRID, Dr. Etse Sikanku, emphasised that to produce high-quality research papers that would impact academia and society, the importance of having the inter-faculty lecture to bring together the university community to provide feedback and guidance on fellow lecturer’s research projects is a necessity.
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Journalism and Media Studies, UniMAC-GIJ, Dr. Paul Herzuah, producer of the new research work titled ‘Address Term Preferences of Students in Digitally-Mediated Communication Environments in a Ghanaian University’, highlighted the methodology, key findings and recommendations of the report.
The research report
Dr. Herzuah’s study delved into the preferences of students in addressing terms within digitally mediated communication environments, shedding light on the dynamics of contemporary student interactions. The findings of the study provided important insights into how students engage in ascribing names to other people.
He said the study’s primary focus was to establish how people give names to others, especially in the digital space. This, he said, is because names are symbols of identity.
“As symbols of identities, names may tell something about the bearer of the name; for instance, if you are called Kwasi, it tells that you are a male born on Sunday or Akosua for female. Also, names establish the cultural heritage of interlocutors,” Dr. Herzuah explained.
The study used a purposive sampling of 250 level 100 and 400 students from GIJ. It adopted the mixed method approach with focus group discussions, which was used to gain further insights from the respondents.
It focused primarily on students and naming as an indicator, revealing that 88 percent of the respondents indicated some form of cordial relationship on campus. This stems from the analysis of the kinds of names the respondents assigned to people on their contact lists.
While 72 percent of saved contacts expressed intimate or romantic relationships, 64 percent of saved contacts expressed sour or toxic relationships.
The study showcased that some of the respondents ascribed names like “God on Earth”, “Locked 4 Life”, “Hubby”, and “Future husband”, among other names, to contacts on their list. This, the researcher explained, indicated the level of intimate relationship these respondents have with those contacts. However, respondents who have had sour or toxic relationships used names like “Foolish boy”, “Broken heart”, “Jon”, “Promise and fail”, etc., to save the number of those people on their contact list.
Conclusions drawn by the researcher showed that several students are engaged in some sort of relationship which largely affects their concentration on academic life. Although the study did not verify the extent to which the relationships affect the academic life of the students, it was evident that those who experienced sour relationships expressed bitter sentiments while offering explanations for why they saved certain contacts the way they did.
In light of the research findings, Dr. Herzuah offered several recommendations. He urged students to prioritise their academic responsibilities, emphasising the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between digital communication and academic commitments. Additionally, he urged parents to play an active role in monitoring and guiding their wards’ digital interactions.
Furthermore, Dr. Herzuah stressed the need for the university’s Guidance and Counselling Departments to intensify their efforts in providing essential psychological support to students, recognising the potential impact of digitally-mediated communication on their mental well-being.
The inter-faculty lectures offer a platform for the sharing of knowledge and the generation of feedback based on research presentations. This is also in line with the research directorate’s commitment to fostering research and innovation within the university community.