Modelling the acceptance and behaviour of university students in relation to social-networking sites

  • Joseph Onibokun

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis presents a research model to investigate university-students’ acceptance and behaviour in relation to social-networking sites (SNS). In order to carry out this investigation, the research project was divided into two phases using qualitative and quantitative data based on a diverse sample of university students. Phase One used a think-aloud technique to explore the interaction experiences associated with students’ use of Facebook, a popular social-networking site. Twenty-six participants from Teesside University took part in the first study and six categories of experience (communication, gratification, inquisitiveness, evocation, interconnection, apprehension, and ambience) were identified. Subsequently conceptual similarities were found between all six categories of experience and six psychological human needs (relatedness, pleasure, popularity, security, competence and meaning). In Phase Two, a research model was constructed, based on existing literature on technology acceptance and the psychological needs identified in Phase One. Results from an online survey of 766 university students in the United Kingdom, who were also SNS users, provided evidence for the proposed model. The model explained and predicted students’ adoption of SNS, accounting for half of the variance in behavioural intention and almost a quarter of the variance in actual use behaviour. The results showed that students’ personal beliefs, social identity and psychological human needs influenced their decision to adopt SNS. Specifically, user-perceived usefulness, ease of use, enjoyment and credibility were found to iv be important factors in students’ adoption of SNS. The influence of social identity on students’ behavioural intention was also found to be mediated by perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Furthermore, the findings emphasise the importance of psychological human needs in students’ adoption of SNS. In particular, the need for relatedness was found to be a significant independent predictor of behavioural intention. Based on the results of this study, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Date of Award1 Sept 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorPaul Van Schaik (Supervisor) & Philip Barker (Supervisor)

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