Meet the Researcher - Shakira Miles

Breakout Room: 25

Researcher Name: Shakira Miles
Co-presenter: Sudan Smith
Title of Research: The Effects of Social Media on College Students Body Image and Self Image
Division Representing: Social Sciences
Institution Attending: Bowie State University
Institution Location: Maryland
Home State: Maryland
District Number: 5
Funding Sources: Bowie State University (SURI)

Significance of Research:       
The purpose of this study is to analyze college students' Instagram pictures, the captions of the pictures, and the comments from Instagram followers within the context of body image.    Theory: This study employs uses and gratifications in order to understand how the college students and their followers gravitate toward Instagram pictures and body image. The first assumption of the uses and gratifications theory suggests that people knowingly use media for particular purposes.   Methods: This qualitative research utilizes textual analysis to uncover the themes and patterns of selected college student Instagram pictures, their captions, and audience comments within the context of body image. In addition, this study is supplemented with frequencies from qualitative analysis to capture words, decipher phrases, and illuminate emojis. Textual analysis is the best method for this study because it will capture comments, pictures, and the captions simultaneously. Hence, the audience comments, the pictures, and the captions will be analyzed within the context of body image. A total of 30 profiles were selected for this study. Then, three pictures were selected from each profile, making a total of 30 pictures.    Findings: Preliminary findings indicate that the college students used Instagram for various reasons, including body image, wellness, friendship, and connections. Emojis and likes were used for expression of feelings toward the pictures and their captions. The findings show that the students use Instagram to fulfill their needs of showcasing their image as they gravitate toward positive comments from the followers.   

Uniqueness of Research: 
This study provides an understanding of how social media effects the self-image and body image of female college students, by analyzing the pictures, the captions of the pictures, and the comments left on pictures from Instagram followers within the context of body image.