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"Online or Off, We're Always Girls:" Gendered Behavior on an Online Bulletin Board and Message Board Targeted at Girls
Unformatted Document Text:  31 exhibit discussion threads that demonstrate female power. The “personal style” of communication can also be interpreted as powerful by providing women with support and discussions on practical matters rather than abstract theorizing Directions for Future Research and Limitations of the Study A multitude of questions for future research arose from this study. First, each of the bulletin boards of gURL.com and each of the message boards of purplepjs.com should be studied to see whether teenage girls act as gendered beings on those boards. Second, comparative analyses of online bulletin and message boards of genres other than those for teenage girls are needed to explore whether gendered behavior exists in cyberspace in general. Was the finding in this study a one-time phenomenon? Additionally, analyses across cultures are needed to find out whether the phenomenon exists on bulletin and message boards created outside the U.S. The principal limitations of this research are the sampling method and the finite number of online bulletin and message boards that were studied. The results cannot be generalized to the internet as a whole, or even to online girls’ magazines as a whole. The research approach here is viable, however, because, as Gurak has articulated, “It is important to move away from generalizations about life in cyberspace and begin to analyze specific instances of computer-mediated communication, not only as a way of understanding patterns of current discourse but also as a method of building theory” (Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace ix). Communication scholar Steve Jones also has encouraged qualitative research about the internet because, according to him, internet research should at this stage be descriptive and interpretive, not prescriptive (12-7).

Authors: Sarkio, Helena.
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31
exhibit discussion threads that demonstrate female power. The “personal style” of
communication can also be interpreted as powerful by providing women with support and
discussions on practical matters rather than abstract theorizing
Directions for Future Research and Limitations of the Study
A multitude of questions for future research arose from this study. First, each of
the bulletin boards of gURL.com and each of the message boards of purplepjs.com should
be studied to see whether teenage girls act as gendered beings on those boards. Second,
comparative analyses of online bulletin and message boards of genres other than those for
teenage girls are needed to explore whether gendered behavior exists in cyberspace in
general. Was the finding in this study a one-time phenomenon? Additionally, analyses
across cultures are needed to find out whether the phenomenon exists on bulletin and
message boards created outside the U.S.
The principal limitations of this research are the sampling method and the
finite number of online bulletin and message boards that were studied. The results cannot
be generalized to the internet as a whole, or even to online girls’ magazines as a whole.
The research approach here is viable, however, because, as Gurak has articulated, “It is
important to move away from generalizations about life in cyberspace and begin to
analyze specific instances of computer-mediated communication, not only as a way of
understanding patterns of current discourse but also as a method of building theory”
(Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace ix). Communication scholar Steve Jones also has
encouraged qualitative research about the internet because, according to him, internet
research should at this stage be descriptive and interpretive, not prescriptive (12-7).


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