Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela Havice, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Tony Cawthon

Committee Member

Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward

Committee Member

Dr. Joseph Mazer


This phenomenological study aimed to understand how doctoral students perceived the influence of social media engagement, through Twitter, on their socialization and sense of belonging within academia. Eight participants were recruited from #sadoc on Twitter. Data from a participant selection questionnaire, in-depth, semi-structured interview, and posts to Twitter were used to understand their lived experiences in #sadoc. Thematic coding was employed to identify six common themes: (a) community of shared doctoral experiences; (b) exposure to doctoral education process; (c) celebration of doctoral student experiences; (d) expansion of boundaries; (e) doctoral student identification; and (f) visibility and authenticity of expression. The results of this study provided insight into the lived experiences of doctoral students engaging in #sadoc. Any information gained about how social media influence socialization and sense of belonging among doctoral students contributes new information to the body of knowledge about doctoral student persistence. Additionally, the results of this study have implications for how doctoral programs can support student persistence through the integration of social media.