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Research in 60 Seconds: How Does TikTok Impact Our World

Whether it’s solving the world’s biggest problems or investigating the potential of novel discoveries, researchers at UCF are on the edge scientific breakthroughs that aim to make an impact. Through the Research in 60 Seconds series, student and faculty researchers condense their complex studies into bite-sized summaries so you can know how and why Knights plan to improve our world.

Name: Lindsey Wright
Major: Writing and rhetoric 

Why are you interested in this research?
I spend a lot of time on TikTok (probably too much time), so even when I’m not on the app I’ll see connections to it in my daily life. Sometimes a song will come on the radio or in a store I’m in and I won’t know what it is, but I’ll know it’s popular on TikTok. Or I’ll be talking with a friend and quote a TikTok audio that I think applies to our conversation. TikTok is a big part of today’s culture, both for me and for other people my age and younger. For this reason, I believe it’s important that we understand how the app is affecting our culture and our identities.

Are you a faculty member or student conducting research at UCF? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your research at bit.ly/ucf-research-60-form.

How did you get started in research at UCF?
I got started in research through classes for my writing and rhetoric major. In my Theory and Practice of Tutoring Writing class in Fall 2019, I completed a research paper that was accepted for publication in Convergence Rhetoric, a peer-reviewed journal for undergraduate research here at UCF. From this experience, I began to see how the research I was doing in my classes could grow into other publication experiences and lead to me becoming a scholar in the field. In Fall 2020, I took a Writing for Digital Environments class, where I completed a project on how sharing TikToks among friends re-affirms relationships. I was accepted to present this project at the 2021 UCF Knights Write Showcase. Dr. Joel Schneier, who had taught the class in which I had completed the project, attended that presentation, and afterward he reached out to me and asked if I wanted to continue working on it and grow it into a larger project. I said absolutely, and in Summer 2021 I began working on my honors undergraduate thesis with Dr. Schneier as my thesis chair.

Who is your mentor? Who inspires you and how?
Dr. Schneier has been an incredible mentor in helping me complete my honors undergraduate thesis. I am grateful for his continued support, as well as the feedback from my thesis committee members, as I work to condense my thesis into a manuscript to submit for publication. Additionally, he has been extremely helpful in assisting me with working through the process of applying to grad school. Dr. Stephanie K. Wheeler, one of my committee members, has also been helping me with the grad school process. It’s been inspiring to work with a successful girlboss in the field of academia that I hope to be a professor in myself one day.

How does UCF empower you to do your research?
Being able to work with supportive and encouraging faculty has been crucial in empowering me to conduct my research. Additionally, the opportunities UCF provides, especially the publication opportunities made available by the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, have allowed me to dream big and consider all the different directions my research can go.

Why is this research important?
There isn’t a ton of research out there yet on TikTok, and I think it’s valuable to look at this specific app because so many people are using it, especially young people. It’s important for us to understand how we interact in digital spaces such as TikTok and why we do the things we do so we can better understand ourselves and how our world is shaped.

Are you a faculty member or student conducting research at UCF? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your research at bit.ly/ucf-research-60-form.

How to Get Involved with Research at UCF

  • F-LEARN @ UCF: A living-learning community for STEM students entering UCF from high school that provides hands-on early research opportunity for academic success.
  • Getting Started Workshops: The Office of Research hosts workshops that inform students about how to get started in research and find a faculty member to work with and the first steps on getting started in research.
  • Honors Undergraduate Thesis: Over the course of two to four semesters, students work closely with a faculty committee to research, write, defend, and publish an original thesis that serves as an honors capstone product of their undergraduate career.
  • Introduction to Research and Creative Scholarship Opportunities (INTRO) Mentoring Program: A semester-long immersive, classroom experience offered in fall and spring semesters that provides students ways to get connected to research opportunities. This program is available in person or online.
  • Office of Undergraduate Research: OUR is dedicated to cultivating and supporting world-class research at UCF. Students can connect with the office for any questions they may have about research or to find opportunities.
  • Peer Mentoring: This program connects students with experienced undergraduate researchers who will provide guidance on how to get started and get support through research experiences.
  • Research Positions Database: This online resource allows students to discover research opportunities with UCF researchers across various disciplines. Please note faculty contact information is password protected, but students can gain access by attending a peer mentoring session, completing the Research Roadmaps webcourse, and through other engagement opportunities.
  • Research Roadmaps Webcourse: The is an online, non-credit, self-paced course that introduces students to research opportunities at UCF. It provides the same information as peer mentoring sessions or a workshop, but at your own pace. Completion of this course also provides you access to the Research Positions Database.
  • SONA: This is a research participation system that allows students who are looking to become participants in studies, usually in exchange for course credit, to find opportunities. The College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Business and Department of Psychology are among some of the units at UCF that list opportunities here.
  • Summer Research Academy: A three-day event in July that’s designed to support UCF undergraduate students across all majors who are interested in participating in research and creative scholarship. This is an ideal opportunity for students who want to begin research in the fall.
  • T-LEARN @ UCF: A living-learning community for first-year, transfer students at UCF who have already earned an Associate in Arts degree. T-LEARN provides a select group of students interested in STEM hands-on learning experiences by helping them engage in research.

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