FACEBOOK for CoP of Researchers: Identifying the Needs and Evaluating the Compatibility

Sami Miniaoui, Mohanad Halaweh

Abstract


Communities of practice (CoPs) are increasingly capturing the interest of many fields such as business companies, education and organizations. Many CoPs were developed for people who have common interest in healthcare, agriculture and environment, and teaching. However, there is lack of COPs dedicated for researchers. This research aims to explore the appropriateness of Facebook (FB) as a platform for serving a CoP of researchers. To achieve this goal, first we identify the needs of CoPs for researchers within UAE context. Consequently, we adopted qualitative research approach to elicit the needs. We applied the grounded theory method to analyze the data. The results of the analysis showed seven main needs: collaboration, debating, awareness/ notification, reference management, cross search, customization, tracking, and user orientation. Secondly, we evaluated the compatibility of FB features to the identified needs. Although we found that FB covers most of CoPs needs, there are few needs which are not met successfully so this raised some technical and practical issues, which have been highlighted in the paper.

Keywords


Community of Practice (CoP); CoP needs; Qualitative research; Grounded theory; Social networking platforms; Facebook.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-27242011000400009



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