Virtual Activity or Real-Life Activism: The Internet and Civic Engagement
This paper contributes to the recent literature examining the correlation between Internet usage and civic engagement. While previous studies focused primarily on voting as a proxy for civic engagement, this paper included measures of support for free speech and amount of newspaper readership as additional dependent variables to test the robustness of previous results. Data was obtained from the General Social Survey (GSS), the second-most widely used dataset in academic research in the social sciences. Using this dataset provided another check for the relationship between the Internet and civic engagement as previous studies tended to rely on specially gathered polling data focusing on Internet use rather than the general interview questions contained in the GSS.Using the Internet to obtain political information had a statistically significant and positive relationship with whether one voted and how often one read newspapers (p
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