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The effects of using social network sites on academic performance: the case of Qatar

Karim Al-Yafi (Department of Accounting and Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Mazen El-Masri (Department of Accounting and Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Ray Tsai (Carnegie Mellon University, Doha, Qatar)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 9 April 2018

2639

Abstract

Purpose

Social network sites (SNSs) have been common applications attracting a large number of users in Qatar. Current literature remains inconclusive about the relationship between SNS usage and users’ academic performance. While one stream confirms that SNS usage may lead to addiction and seriously affect individuals’ academic performance, other studies refer to SNS as learning enablers. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, it investigates the SNS usage profiles among the young generation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) represented by Qatar; second, it examines the relationship between the identified SNS usage profiles and their respective users’ academic performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The study follows a quantitative survey-based method that was adapted from Chen’s internet Addiction Scale to fit the context of social networks. Data were collected from students of two universities in Qatar, one private and another public. Respondents’ grade point average was also collected and compared across the different usage profiles to understand how SNS usage behavior affects academic performance.

Findings

Results reveal that there is no linear relationship between SNS usage and academic performance. Therefore, this study further investigates SNS usage profiles and identifies three groups: passive (low usage), engaged (normal usage) and addicted (high usage). It was found that engaged users demonstrate significantly higher academic performance than their passive and addicted peers. Moreover, there is no significant difference in the academic performance between passive and addicted users.

Research limitations/implications

This study is cross-sectional and based on self-reported data collected from university students in Qatar. Further research venues could employ a more general sample covering a longer period, differentiating between messaging tools (e.g. WhatsApp) and other pure SNS (e.g. Twitter), and to cover other aspects than just academic performance.

Originality/value

This study complements research efforts on the influence of technology on individuals and on the society in the GCC area. It concludes that engaged SNS users achieve better academic performance than the addicted or passive users. Contradicting the strong linear relationship between SNS and performance, as claimed by previous studies, is the main originality of this paper.

Keywords

Citation

Al-Yafi, K., El-Masri, M. and Tsai, R. (2018), "The effects of using social network sites on academic performance: the case of Qatar", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 446-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEIM-08-2017-0118

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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