Voters' online information behaviour and response to campaign content during the Scottish referendum on independence.
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BAXTER, G. and MARCELLA, R. 2017. Voters' online information behaviour and response to campaign content during the Scottish referendum on independence. International journal of information management [online], 37(6), pages 539-546. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2017.05.013
Research into the public's motivations for, and barriers to, the use of referendum campaign sites was carried out in the final weeks before the 2014 vote on Scottish independence. As a qualitative study, drawing on 54 interactive, electronically-assisted interviews, where participants were observed and questioned as they searched for and used information on the websites and social media sites of the campaign groups, the results enable more precise causal inferences to be drawn about voters' exposure to campaign sites. Results indicate participants value 'facts', what they perceive as authoritative voices, the capacity to compare campaign messages directly, infographics and concise, direct information. They are sceptical, particularly about celebrity contributions, preferring expert messages, and uncertain about their personal capacity to evaluate information they will use to make decisions. The authors set out a new model of levels of user engagement with political discourse during campaigns. Results have relevance for governments, as well as researchers in the fields of politics, communications and information management.