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Thursday, February 03, 2005

MORI survey uncovers major new trends in web use in the UK

Common Information Environment | Projects | Audience research

A major study undertaken by MORI & published today, has examined internet usage and patterns in the UK & what they find "trustworthy" (or not) on the Web. It shows a growing "digital divide" and has important implications for an information society, particularly in relation to "piublic service".

It was commisioned by the Common Information Environment Group which is "all about public sector organisations working together in order to make the online experience more educational, entertaining and enriching than it is currently".

A summary of findings from the JISC press release :

* Most of the population is aware of the Internet to some degree, with just under half of all respondents (49%) saying they know at least a fair amount about it
* 92% of Internet users say that reliability of content is an important factor, including 63% saying it is very important
* Home is the place from which people most commonly access the Internet, with 80% of current users saying that they go online most often from there
* 53% of all respondents go online at least once a week, including 30% who do so every day
* 3% of users access the Internet via mobile phones or GPRS as their preferred means of access.
* Over half of all current users (54%) of the Web use it as their preferred information source. In addition, some 59% of all those surveyed are confident about Internet use, and three quarters of respondents say that they find it easy to get access to the Internet.

In addition,

* With the potential of the Internet as a learning tool, the survey also reveals the public’s attitudes to lifelong learning. Encouragingly, the overwhelming majority of people surveyed agree that it is important for adults to continue to learn as they get older (94%). Importantly most see a role for the Internet in learning new things (83% class the Internet as an important learning tool). 59% of those who have ever used the Internet search for specific information in connection with a hobby or interest, while 40% have done so in connection with their own education, and 25% in connection with their own children’s learning.

The survey also points to a growing “digital divide”, a gulf between different groups of users based on gender, employment, class and educational attainment. Men, people aged 16-54, who work, come from social classes ABC1, and have a formal educational qualification are more likely to be Internet users, the survey finds, than women, people aged 55+, those not in work, from social classes C2DE, and people who do not have a formal educational qualification.

At the same time, findings from the survey suggest that use of the Internet may be prone to lapsing as people move from education and training (where learning providers supply the means of access for those without ready access elsewhere) into work. Once again, the implications for the wider agendas of lifelong learning, e-Government and active citizenship would appear to require concerted political action.


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