Survey Results: How do Internet users currently search for information on Internet Governance?

Over the last few months we have sought to understand, through one-on-one user interviews and an on-line survey, how individuals search for and find information related to Internet governance issues. The insights gained through these efforts are meant to support the design of a NETmundial Solutions Map prototype.

We shared our findings from the interviews earlier here. In addition, we conducted an extensive analysis of existing Internet governance mapping efforts, and the results are posted here.  Our recent survey, aimed at capturing a broader set of needs and points of views, ran for two months until the end of 2014. Please find the results below:

 

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As the pie-chart below indicates, we received responses from a diverse set of stakeholders, reflecting the diversity of the Internet governance ecosystem. Given that the survey was located on the NETmundial initiative’s website, we can assume that the respondents are already familiar with Internet governance.

Participants gave a wide range of responses when asked why they were searching for information on Internet governance. Their feedback ranged from academic research, to business concerns, to understanding the impact of global Internet governance on the design of domestic policies. And some users responded that they were simply searching out of curiosity. This reflects a plethora of possible use cases for Internet Governance Maps.

Survey respondents also indicated that they were looking for a range of particular kinds of information. These included (in alphabetical order) :

  • Activities and events
  • Actors
  • Fora and processes
  • Historical context
  • Laws & Initiatives
  • Position Papers
  • Research Publications
  • Transcript
  • Webcasts

Similarly, survey respondents use a diversity of methods in searching for information on Internet governance issues. For the most part, respondents engage in a multi-step process, starting with search engines like Google and moving onto links from recommended blogs, articles, and resources. Some indicated that they reached out to experts, peers and trusted individuals within their network when they needed help in their information seeking process. We learned that peers and thought leaders are considered a valuable resource, particularly when trying to get the most up to date information. None of the respondents identified a single trusted source for all of their Internet governance information needs.

Those who indicated that they had negative experiences with finding information about  Internet governance provided the following reasons:

  • It is difficult to determine whether a source is credible.
  • It is difficult to find up-to-date information.
  • There is a lack of contextually relevant information.
  • It is not clear how things work, and where Internet policy is taking place.

We welcome your involvement in the next phase of development of the NETmundial Solutions Map. In February 2015, we will conduct consultations and invite further comments on the prototype currently in development.

 

 

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