[Air-L] Internet User Research

Ronald E. Rice rrice at comm.ucsb.edu
Sun Jun 28 21:45:42 PDT 2009

See, for example:
Anigbogu, J. & Rice, R. E. (2001). Expectations and experiences of seeking 
infertility information via the Internet and telephone directory. In R. E. 
Rice & J. E. Katz (Eds.), The Internet and health communication: 
Expectations and experiences (pp. 121-143). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cheong, P. H. (2008).  The young and techless?  Investigating internet use 
and problem-solving behaviors of young adults in Singapore.  New Media & 
Society, 10(5), 771-791.

Ronald E. Rice
Arthur N. Rupe Chair in the Social Effects of Mass Communication
Co-Director, Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television, and New Media
President of the International Communication Association 2006-2007
Dept. of  Communication, 4840 Ellison Hall
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4020
Ph: 805-893-8696; Fax: 805-893-7102
rrice at comm.ucsb.edu
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Meryl Krieger" <meryl.krieger at gmail.com>
To: "John Stephen Veitch" <john.s.veitch at gmail.com>
Cc: <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 6:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Air-L] Internet User Research

> John:
> I can't say I fit in that majority if people aren't believing your results
> because of sample size. While I don't do this everyday, my significant 
> other
> does tech support at a major university (to remain nameless) and comments 
> on
> this all the time. I find it interesting that there is such a disconnect
> between the experiences of everyday computer users and those of us who are
> immersed in technology - we ourselves *don't* represent the mainstream and 
> I
> think that can be easy to forget. I find as I teach in the classroom that 
> I
> am easily the best computer person in the room - my students are not IT
> people they are taking gen ed classes in university and community college
> classes. The range I see varies from people who don't know the difference
> between a Mac and a PC (not kidding) to those who don't understand that 
> the
> internet isn't a place on their computer. One student told me last week 
> that
> his paper was saved "in" Microsoft Word - because that was the only way he
> understood how to retrieve the file - rather than on a network drive. The
> only reason he gets *there* is because that's how he was taught to save
> files.
> You must have done so pretty fast talking to get these people to let you
> watch them use their computers! Best of luck,
> Meryl
> On Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 9:20 PM, John Stephen Veitch <
> john.s.veitch at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello Everyone
>> It's a long time since I've contributed here.
>> Six years ago I visited the homes of 14 randomly selected people and took
>> notes as they used the Internet. (I don't recommend that you try that.)
>> Several important things seemed to come out of that.
>> The most startling for me was the poor level of knowledge and the LACK of
>> use.
>> Also that Internet use was private, and that people felt uncomfortable
>> using
>> the Internet while being watched, and I felt uncomfortable being there.
>> That report is here.
>> http://www.ate.co.nz/internet/bryndwr.html
>> At the time members of this forum disbelieved my results. The sample is 
>> too
>> small! Well yes it was, nobody can argue against that. However, as I 
>> think
>> I
>> now show, six years ago I was on the correct track. I should have 
>> followed
>> that more vigorously. The summary says:
>> "My research suggests that it will be many years before people understand
>> how the internet can make a real difference in their lives. They use it 
>> in
>> a
>> manner that ensures that little difference is made. Most people would
>> struggle to use it for more than 2 hours a week, including email.
>> Most people have just enough knowledge to send an email and to search for
>> and find a web site. People are not joining listservs, and for the most
>> part, they do not buy things on the Internet. An internet connected
>> computer
>> is much more complex than a VCR machine. We know that most people can't
>> programme their VCR's, so in a nutshell that's the problem."
>> Six weeks ago I asked several local people to do something online that I
>> thought was simple and that most people would do easily. No response,
>> nothing. That got me thinking about the 2003 work, again.
>> I prepared a list of about 30 Internet behaviours, and asked people to
>> check
>> their machines when the need to do so, and to count the number of times
>> these behaviours occurred. People had time to prepare their replies. I 
>> only
>> collected NUMBERS from them, relevant numbers that they had chosen. I 
>> found
>> most people were very keen to help, and worked hard to give me sensible
>> numbers.
>> The results were reported back by telephone. That conversation often
>> revealed more information about why this person used the Internet in the
>> way
>> they did.
>> It's important to note that the homes in which this work was done were
>> selected randomly.  However, the people who did the survey in each house
>> were really volunteers. My request to them was that the "person who was
>> most
>> active on the Internet" should be the respondent.So the results should be
>> heavily biased towards active use and towards the behaviour of the most
>> knowledgeable users. It's therefore, very disappointing for me to see how
>> little use is made of the technology.
>> In particular, the feedback process, the self publishing possibilities of
>> Web 2.0 technologies, seem to be used hardly at all. The failure of 
>> people
>> to embrace social networks and social media surprises me.
>> http://www.ate.co.nz/survey2009.html
>> --
>> John Stephen Veitch
>> http://www.ate.co.nz/internet/
>> http://www.openfuture.co.nz/
>> http://openfuture-network.ryze.com/
>> _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> J. Meryl Krieger
> Ph.D., Folklore & Ethnomusicology
> Associate Instructor, xxxxxx University
> Adjunct Instructor, xxxxx Community College
> _______________________________________________
> The Air-L at listserv.aoir.org mailing list
> is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org
> Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at: 
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