|Title:||Information Use in Online Civic Discourse: A Study of Health Care Reform Debate
|Author(s):||O'Connor, Lisa; Rapchak, Marcia
|Abstract:||This article reports on a study of civic discourse in online political
forums. On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act was signed into law in the United States after heated debate.
Some of the debate took place online, often in political forums.
This study describes and analyzes the information used to frame
and support participants’ opinions within the online environment.
Researchers collected 6,322 postings in 226 threads over thirteen
months in three discussion boards (two moderated and one unmoderated).
Using citation context analysis and citation content analysis,
researchers identified the type of sources used by posters (i.e.,
those individuals who post information online), the quality of such
sources, and the responses of other posters to source use. Sources
were categorized based on type and coded based on neutrality and
authority. The category of most-cited sources was newspapers and
newswires. While the majority of postings did not use sources (over
97 percent did not cite any source), of those sources coded (n =
460), over a third were clearly biased and/or unauthoritative. The
authors discuss some of the difficulties individuals face in finding
and using political information. Recommendations are made for
developing national information policy, improving the format of
information channels, and designing user education and services
to support civic discourse.
|Publisher:||Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Citation Info:||In Library Trends 60 (3) Winter 2012: 497-521.
|Publication Status:||published or submitted for publication
|Rights Information:||Copyright 2012 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-03-11