Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Yu, Chien.

Committee Member

Prince, Debra.

Committee Member

Beriswill, Joanne.

Committee Member

Lee, Joon Sang.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Instructional Systems and Workforce Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


Networking is a key component of a successful professional career. Studies have shown that between 60-75% of jobs are obtained through an individual’s network. Today many professionals use the social media site such as LinkedIn to make and maintain professional connections. However college students only make up approximately 10% of LinkedIn’s 300+ million users. There has been much research done regarding the use of social networking and academic and corporate use, little has been done to investigate how college students interact with LinkedIn. Therefore the purpose of this study was to gather students’ perceptions of LinkedIn as a professional social networking tool.Three research questions were used to find the use and perception of LinkedIn among college students and if there was a difference in the way that select students used it. A survey administered via Survey Monkey based on demographic, utilization, and perception of LinkedIn was sent to undergraduate students majoring in Kinesiology, Business Administration, and Mechanical Engineering during the spring 2015 semester. A total of 359 students responded to the survey, out of which only 105 owned LinkedIn accounts. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequencies, and percentages, and the one-way analysis of variance test. The results showed that the use of LinkedIn was low, and 38% of account owners reported never using their account. Most of the participants who owned LinkedIn accounts were white males. Students shared a neutral perception about LinkedIn features and LinkedIn as a tool for professional networking. Mechanical Engineers had the largest population of users out of the 3 majors surveyed.The results showed that Business Administration students used LinkedIn more than the other two majors surveyed, and juniors and seniors used the site comparatively the same. In addition, the findings showed that there was no significant difference in the way Mechanical Engineers and Kinesiology majors used LinkedIn. The findings of this study will provide valuable information for students and career counselors on the features of LinkedIn and what guidance students need when using the site.



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