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Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen

Youth, Engagement and Participation in Digital Culture

Paul Mihailidis

Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen is about enhancing engagement in a digital media culture and the models that educators, parents and policy makers can utilize to place media-savvy youth into positions of purpose, responsibility and power. Two specific challenges are at the core of this book’s argument that media literacy is the path toward more active and robust civic engagement in the 21st century:
How can media literacy enable core competencies for value-driven, diverse and robust digital media use?
How can media literacy enable a more civic-minded participatory culture?
These challenges are great, but they need to be examined in their entirety if media literacy is to begin to address the opportunities they present for democracy, participation and discourse in a digital media age. By presenting information that places media literacy at the center of what it means to be an engaged citizen, educators and policy makers will understand why media literacy must be integrated into formal and informal education systems before it’s too late
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B. Study Methodology and Participant Sample


← 170 | 171 →·APPENDIX B·


The survey employed for this book emerged from a study conducted to better understand how young citizens use social media in their daily lives, and how they perceive its value for them personally and publically. The following two general research questions were posed in 2011, when the study was launched:

RQ1–How do university students conceive of social media’s role in their daily information and communication use?

RQ2–How do university students conceive of social media’s role in civic life?

To explore these questions, 873 students across 9 universities on the East Coast of the United States participated in an extensive survey questionnaire. The universities were selected through existing contacts of the researchers, and those contacts were asked to disseminate a 67-question survey to their classes during the 2011 academic spring semester. Following the completion of the survey questionnaire, eight focus groups were conducted with 71 participants. Participants were offered a small payment and food to join a 60–90-minute focus group session exploring the themes of the survey. To ensure uniformity of the data, research participation was contingent on undergraduate status, and confidentiality was guaranteed.

← 171 | 172 →Survey Questionnaire

The survey questionnaire was developed to assess social media habits across six categories: news, politics, relationships, entertainment, education, and privacy. The survey was developed, pretested, and refined in the context of a special topics course in Social...

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