Research Questions

                This entire study spawns from an original question of campus climate in regards to race relations.  Or more precisely: How is campus climate negatively reflected and/or perpetuated through student use of Facebook?  The partial answer, already detailed above, is through the pro-chief movement evident at U of I.  So given this initial notion, several specific questions are raised:

  1. What do people think about the campus climate?  What actions have they taken in regards to the Chief?
  2. What is the character of groups surrounding the topic?  What do we notice about group purpose, composition, and activity?
  3. What does this suggest about social capital?  How might we best frame and inform future social movements?

                Obviously these questions only scratch the surface of more insidious issues of race and student perspectives but do offer a solid start towards understanding and dealing with attitudes.  Since the information and records available on Facebook persist over time these questions can be answered in a temporal context as well, which helps us to gauge recent activity and the overall ebb and flow of the movement.  The ordinary research limitations of Facebook notwithstanding1, the web service offers a robust environment to observe and as such this paper takes a multi-method approach.

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[1] See Jeff’s MA paper on for a better understanding of these.