Publication Date

2015-04-16

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2015-04-16

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense

2015-03-31

First Committee Member

Mitchell E. Shapiro

Second Committee Member

Paul Driscoll

Third Committee Member

Colee Splichal

Fourth Committee Member

Ann Masterman

Abstract

This study used an online questionnaire to survey 276 first-time, non-transfer undergraduate freshmen students at the University of Miami to determine the perceived influence of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) on their college search and choice compared to that of traditional word-of-mouth (WOM). In addition, eWOM’s influence was examined during the search and choice phases of the three-phased college choice process and when consumed across various form of social media. The results of this study suggested that traditional WOM had a greater perceived influence on students’ college choice than eWOM. The results also suggested that eWOM had a greater perceived influence during the search phase than during the choice phase and a greater perceived influence when consumed on online reviews/forums than when consumed on social networking sites. A recommendation for further study is enclosed.

Keywords

electronic word-of-mouth; eWOM; college choice process; online reviews; social media

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