Revista Latina

Referees' reports - 2011

Reports: Uses and perceptions of Tuenti and Facebook among students from the University of the Basque Country

The article addresses a current and opportune topic. The text is structured in a coherent manner and the formulation of the hypothesis is correct. The organisation of the research and the design of the methodology are also well developed. Although sometimes the writing is too colloquial, the inclusion of phrases expressed by the focus groups participants is accurate, since it stimulates and enriches the text. -Susana Herrera-Damas, Ph.D. - Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication - Carlos III University of Madrid.

Reports on the article:

The article develops a research on a topic that is becoming very important: the world of social networks, in this case Tuenti (Spanish and more local) and Facebook (International and North American). The objective of the research is to examine the relationship of students with social networks. The study is based on four hypotheses: that Facebook and Tuenti are differently perceived; that students do not read and do not know the legal boundaries of the networks; that students connect to social networks while they do other activities; and that the social networks are replacing traditional Instant Messaging applications like Microsoft Messenger.

The author(s) outlines the features of social networks based on previous investigations: their characteristics, their impacts on the new professional profiles, the media representations they generate, and the reasons why Facebook has a greater growth than Tuenti.

The methodology section describes the two stages of the research: a qualitative stage based on focus groups; and a quantitative phase which involves the application of questionnaires to university students. Although the article does not explain in details the rationale behind the size of the sample, according to statistical criteria the size is valid to make generalisations (652 answered questionnaires); since it has an acceptable margin of error (4.5%), and confidence level (95.5%).

The article recognises the limitations of the sample but considers that certain results are very similar to the ones obtained by previous. The results confirm some hypothesis and reject others: students differentiate between both networks, they are unaware of the legal terms of the uploaded information and images but they do not care; students do develop other tasks when they are connected to the networks; the networks are subtracting attention from the medium of television.

The study does not have a consistent theoretical basis, but it is based on the findings of other studies. The information obtained from the research is meaningful, and relevant: describes in details the way young students –the population segment that uses networks the most- and allows predicting that the increase in the use of networks will continue to be exponential.

This research contributes to forming a line of communication research in social networks and facilitates understanding the phenomenon that is already dominating the world: the social networks as a medium of communication and interaction- Melitón Guevara-Castillo, Ph.D. - Autonomous University of Tamaulipas (Mexico).

The article deals with a subject that is undoubtedly interesting for the academic community, since the studies on this line are still scarce. The article shows the results of an investigation into the use and perception of two social networks among college students, and the knowledge about the legal conditions that govern their use.

The sources that are used as the basis for the development of the study are relevant and current. The methodology is set out clearly and the results are valuable because they are based on a broad sample and provide new knowledge about the online social networks. The structure of the text is coherent, contains each of the sections required in a scientific text, and its writing style is correct. I recommend its publication. -Blanca Chong-López, Ph.D. – Autonomous University of Coahuila, Mexico.

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