The 2014 Scottish independence referendum: a study of voters' online information behaviour.
MetadataShow full item record
BAXTER, G. and MARCELLA, R. 2014. The 2014 Scottish independence referendum: a study of voters' online information behaviour. Information research [online], 19(4), Special Issue Supplement: Proceedings of the information behaviour conference (ISIC 2014), 2-5 September 2014, Leeds, UK, Part 1. Available from: http://www.informationr.net/ir/19-4/isic/isicsp5.html
Introduction. The paper will present the preliminary results of a study of voters' online information behaviour being conducted during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign. The referendum provides a rare opportunity to explore politicians' use of the Internet, and citizens' information behaviour, in a completely different campaign setting: one where traditional political opponents have joined forces to either support or oppose the independence argument. Method. The study uses the authors' interactive, electronically-assisted interview method, where participants are observed and questioned as they search for, browse and use information on the web sites and social media sites of political actors taking part in the pro- and anti-independence campaigns. Analysis. All interviews are being audio-recorded digitally and transcribed. The transcripts will then be analysed to identify the important themes and issues emerging. Results. The paper presents the researchers' initial impressions of the nature and impact of voters' online behaviour during the campaign. For example, it will report on the participants' views of the relevance and comprehensibility of the information obtained, and on the potential influence of this information on their voting decisions. Conclusions. The paper presents some preliminary conclusions concerning the relationship between the provision and use of online political information and the democratic process.