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Examining the impact of social media on undergraduate students mental well-being and resilience (Advert Reference: RDF19/BL/MOS/ONKAL)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Onkal
    Dr W Ahmed
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have emerged as important communication channels in the 21st century and are utilised globally by a large portion of society. They are especially popular with university students, facilitating event organization, photo/video-sharing, and group work. By doing so, they have added an extra layer and dimension to undergraduate students’ social lives. However, social media platforms may portray the undergraduate experience in an idealised fashion leading to potential psychological impacts on students who may be struggling to fit in. Student mental health in the United Kingdom has been described as entering a crisis (Macaskill, 2013) and more recently research has noted negative consequences of social media among adolescents (Oberst, Wegmann, Stodt, Brand & Chamarro, 2017). The overall research aim of this study would be to examine the extent to which social media platforms can influence undergraduate students’ mental well-being and resilience in the United Kingdom. A mixed method study approach would be utilised. Data would be collected through interviews and surveys and data would also be retrieved from social media platforms. This data would be analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods. The project would provide an opportunity to reflect on the business ethics of social media and to examine relevant health implications in the context of the project. Our outputs would include recommendations for students, universities, and social media platforms.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF19/BL/MOS/ONKAL) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide, and covers full fees and a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa).


Macaskill, A. (2013). The mental health of university students in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 41(4), 426-441.

Oberst, U., Wegmann, E., Stodt, B., Brand, M., & Chamarro, A. (2017). Negative consequences from heavy social networking in adolescents: The mediating role of fear of missing out. Journal of adolescence, 55, 51-60.

Ahmed, W., & Lugovic, S. (2018). Social Media Analytics: Analysis and Visualisation of News Diffusion using NodeXL. Online Information Review. (2017 Impact Factor: 1.675).

Ahmed, W. (2018) Public Health Implications of #ShoutYourAbortion. Public Health Journal. (2017 Impact Factor 1.44).

Samuel, G., Ahmed, W., Kara, H., Jessop, C., Quinton, S., & Sanger, S. (2018). Is It Time to Re-Evaluate the Ethics Governance of Social Media Research?. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 1556264618793773.

Ahmed, W., Bath, P.A., Sbaffi, L., & Demartini. G. (2018) Moral Panic through the Lens of Twitter: An Analysis of Infectious Disease Outbreaks. ACM Digital Library, Social Media and Society Conference Proceedings. (Acceptance rate 47%).

Ahmed, W., Bath, P.A., Sbaffi, L., & Demartini. G. (2018) Moral Panic through the Lens of Twitter: An Analysis of Infectious Disease Outbreaks. ACM Digital Library, Social Media and Society Conference Proceedings. (Acceptance rate 47%)

Ahmed, W., Bath, P.A., & Demartini G (2017) Using Twitter as a data source: An overview of ethical challenges. Advances in Research Ethics and Integrity (Eds). Emerald Books.

Ahmed, W., & Bath, PA. (2015) The Ebola epidemic on Twitter: challenges for health informatics. The Seventeenth International Symposium for Health Information Management (pp 289-289). York, 24 June 2015 – 26 June 2015.

Ahmed, W., & Bath, PA. (2015) Comparison of Twitter APIs and tools for analysing Tweets related to the Ebola Virus Disease. iFutures. Sheffield, 07 July 2015.

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