New perspectives on computer-mediated communication research: a social network analysis approach

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Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is an online text-based interactive process that has increasingly become part of our personal and professional lives over the past three decades. The study of CMC is a topic of interest that heavily relies on a range of data-driven tools and methods to analyse and visualise digital discourse (Bou-Franch & Blitvich, 2018; Zourou, 2019). Meta-analyses on CMC in education (Domahidi, 2018; Liu et al., 2018) have shown, however, that the ways in which language and interaction are analysed within online spaces vary tremendously across studies and “preclude an unequivocal answer to the question of the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication”(Lin, 2015, p. 86). The efforts that have been made often take established theories of mediated communication and aim to translate them to the new realm of digital discourse, but they often fail to recognise the affordances of the digital context, the wealth of user data that is available and the impact this context has on human interaction (Carr, 2020; Jacobs & Tschötschel, 2019). The main goal of this chapter is to show how educators and researchers can start to identify structures of interactional rules, procedures and conventions that govern CMC. This way we can improve our understanding of how language students interact when they are part of an online community for learning, how they form bonds with others and how they exercise their agency within an online space (Peeters, 2020).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart CALL
Subtitle of host publicationPersonalization, contextualization & socialization
EditorsJozef Colpaert, Glenn Stockwell
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherCastledown Publishers
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781914291029
ISBN (Print)9781914291012
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • computer-mediated communication
  • social network analysis
  • digital discourse

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