Internet Consumption: Approaches, Theories, Methods

How do scholars around the world study Internet consumption of today’s youth? This question was at the onset of an academic conference at the Center for Public Opinion Research at Shanghai International Studies University in China. A variety of the studies presented at the meeting were now published in the book Comparative Studies on Media Consumption and Youth by Professor Guo Ke,  the dean of the center at SISU.

My colleagues Bruce Garrison and Yu Liu from the University of Miami and I contributed a study to this book that analyzed the scholarly approaches, theories and methods used to study Internet consumption in the United States. The following is a summary of the study provided in the book:

They found a highly diverse and broad range of research approaches. Theories and methodologies were primarily those found in other mass communication and journalism research, such as agenda setting and uses and gratifications work. Methods used were most commonly surveys, content analysis, experiments, qualitative and critical essays. The authors propose that new research should focus on the development of new theories and that existing theoretical approaches must be further tested and modified. Areas of likely scholarly interest should include collaborative information, the changing nature of gatekeepers and news decision-making, hyperlinking and agenda setting, intermedia sourcing, and emerging Internet content formats … (p.4)

Please send an e-mail, if you are interested in a copy of the chapter “Internet Consumption by Adults and Youth:  Scholarly Approaches, Theories and Methods in the U.S.”

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