Nathan Foss

Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Myrna R. Olson


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to identify commonly held beliefs and perceived experiences of preservice and early service teachers with regard to their use of the social networking site Facebook. This study included recorded and transcribed interviews of 14 participants as well as observations of their Facebook accounts. The participants in this study consisted of six males and eight females who were in various stages of their educational careers. All participants were either members, or recent graduates, of the same Midwestern university. Each was either pursuing a degree in education or had recently received their education degree.

A phenomenological study design was chosen as the qualitative research method for this study. Interview data was organized into codes, categories, themes, and the following three assertions:

1. Although their use of the social networking site changes and evolves as they age, preservice and early service teachers believe that maintaining ties with friends is an important function of Facebook and can be accomplished without direct communication; however, direct communication is still highly valued with close friends.

2. Preservice and early service teachers are apprehensive about the negative consequences of having a Facebook profile, but because of perceived benefits, they continue to utilize the site under what they believe are higher privacy settings and/or after they have policed their account removing questionable content.

3. As they mature, preservice and early service teachers create more stringent guidelines for who they will add as friends on Facebook, and they believe a level of distance between their personal and professional lives is prudent.