Congratulations Dr John Mowbray!

PhD graduate Dr John Mowbray with his Director of Studies Professor Hazel Hall

PhD graduate Dr John Mowbray with his Director of Studies Professor Hazel Hall

Congratulations to Dr John Mowbray, who was awarded his PhD at the Edinburgh Napier University graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh yesterday. I was John’s Director of Studies, and his second supervisor was Professor Robert Raeside.

John’s PhD was funded by an ESRC Skills Development Scotland Collaborative studentship. Robert and I won the grant for the award through a competitive process administered by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science in spring 2014, and John came to us later in the October of that year having applied for the PhD studentship that we advertised in June 2014.

John’s thesis is entitled The role of networking and social media tools during job search: an information behaviour perspective. In it is explored job search networking amongst 16- 24 year olds living in Scotland, and the role of three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) during this process. Within the study networking is treated as an information behaviour. Reflecting this, it is underpinned by a prominent model from the domain of Information Science: Wilson’s model of information behaviour. John’s work shows that young people accrue different types of information from network contacts which can be useful for all job search tasks. Indeed, frequent networking offline and on social media is associated with positive job search outcomes. This is especially true of engaging with family members and acquaintances, and frequent use of Facebook for job search purposes. However, demographic and other contextual factors have a substantial impact on the nature of networking behaviours, and the extent to which they can influence outcomes. Additionally, young job seekers face a range of barriers to networking, do not always utilise their networks thoroughly, and are more likely to use social media platforms as supplementary tools for job search. A key contribution of this work is that it provides a detailed insight into the process of networking that has been neglected in previous studies. Its focus on social media also reveals a new dimension to the concept which has received little attention in the job search literature. Given its focus on young job seekers living in Scotland, the write-up of the study includes recommendations for practitioners.

Over the course of his PhD registration John published three papers from his on-going work, the full text of which can be accessed from the links below:

Mowbray, J., Hall, H., Raeside, R. & Robertson, P.J. (2018). Job search information behaviours: an ego-net study of networking amongst young job-seekers. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 50(3), 239-253. [Full text available from publisher with subscription access; full text available from the Edinburgh Napier repository.]

Mowbray, J., Hall, H., Raeside, R., Robertson, P. (2017). The role of networking and social media tools during job search: an information behaviour perspective. Information Research, 22(1). [Full text available from publisher; full text available from the Edinburgh Napier repository.]

Mowbray, J., Raeside, R., Hall, H. & Robertson, P. (2016). Social networking sites and employment status: an investigation based on Understanding Society data. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Data Information and Information Management Conference (IDIMC). (pp. 75-85). Loughborough: LISU. [Full text available from publisher; full text available from the Edinburgh Napier repository.]

John was not the only PhD graduand from the School of Computing at yesterday’s ceremony. Alongside him were:

Congratulations to them all!

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