2015 IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium



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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jennifer Stewart


Department of English and Linguistics

University Affiliation

Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne


This qualitative study employs In Vivo coding methods, defined by Johnny Saldaña as a coding method for qualitative data which allows to the researcher to create categories and codes that are deemed appropriate for the nature of the qualitative data being examined, in digital environments. The study identifies the reasons for which some grief discussion board threads (with greater numbers of posts and respondents) outlast other threads (with fewer numbers of posts and respondents). In general, four rhetorical acts were observed: the original poster expressed profound, incurable grief; the original poster responded to nearly each post; the responders shared their stories, and sought support within other posters’ threads; and the posters and responders expressed considerable disagreement with each other over religious beliefs. While these acts were observed in both the longer and shorter threads, it was found that there were differences in how they were carried out. Those differences, as the analysis shows, explain the differences in length between longer and shorter threads. The study concludes, in the vein of Cynthia Selfe, that the effectiveness of online grief discussion forums cannot be monolithically gauged; whether or not they are effective for those who are experiencing grief depends more on how the discussion boards are used.


English Language and Literature | Linguistics

Hot Discussions in Online Grief Forums: An Exploration of the Characteristics of Long Discussion Threads in Online Grief Forums