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What Should We Ask in our Next Internet Use Survey?

August 18, 2020 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

For more than 25 years, NTIA has been surveying the American public about its computer and Internet use, in partnership with the Census Bureau.

Our most recent NTIA Internet Use Survey went into the field in November 2019, with more than 50 questions administered to approximately 50,000 households across the United States. The survey covers a range of topics related to digital inclusion and similar issues, with the goal of informing Internet policy analysis and development that can help to bridge the digital divide.

In anticipation of conducting future surveys, NTIA is seeking recommendations from the public about how we can improve our survey and make it as relevant as possible. Are there questions we previously asked that should be changed or deleted? Are there any questions that we should be adding? We want to hear from you.

After digesting your comments, NTIA will draft a revised survey instrument to use in the future. Beginning this fall, experts from the Census Bureau will conduct cognitive testing of our draft survey, which will help us learn what questions may cause confusion or elicit inaccurate responses. Census will recommend changes aimed at addressing any problems uncovered during this process.

In the meantime, we will continue to analyze the results of our November 2019 survey. In our initial post on the results, we shared that seniors and other demographic groups reported encouraging increases in Internet use, and that Americans in general were using a larger and more varied range of devices. As we further dig into the data, we’re planning to cover topics such as telework, barriers to adoption, and privacy and security concerns.

The success of NTIA’s Internet Use Survey rests with the public. We rely on the public not only to answer our questions when the Census Bureau comes calling, but also to help us analyze our datasets. The academic studies and other work produced externally using NTIA’s Internet Use Survey contribute substantially to the state of knowledge in Internet policy.

By submitting your ideas for our next set of questions, you can help ensure that our survey is keeping up with evolving technologies and any new policy challenges that arise. Written comments may be submitted by email to data@ntia.gov. For more information, please see the official Request for the Comments. We look forward to your feedback.

Interested in the future of NTIA’s Internet Use Survey? Join the Data Central mailing list to get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

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