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The 2014 Scottish independence referendum: a study of voters' online information behaviour.

Baxter, Graeme; Marcella, Rita


Graeme Baxter


Introduction. The paper will present the preliminary results of a study of voters' online information behaviour being conducted during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign. The referendum provides a rare opportunity to explore politicians' use of the Internet, and citizens' information behaviour, in a completely different campaign setting: one where traditional political opponents have joined forces to either support or oppose the independence argument. Method. The study uses the authors' interactive, electronically-assisted interview method, where participants are observed and questioned as they search for, browse and use information on the web sites and social media sites of political actors taking part in the pro- and anti-independence campaigns. Analysis. All interviews are being audio-recorded digitally and transcribed. The transcripts will then be analysed to identify the important themes and issues emerging. Results. The paper presents the researchers' initial impressions of the nature and impact of voters' online behaviour during the campaign. For example, it will report on the participants' views of the relevance and comprehensibility of the information obtained, and on the potential influence of this information on their voting decisions. Conclusions. The paper presents some preliminary conclusions concerning the relationship between the provision and use of online political information and the democratic process.


BAXTER, G. and MARCELLA, R. 2014. The 2014 Scottish independence referendum: a study of voters' online information behaviour. Information research [online], 19(4, Supplement): proceedings of the 2014 Information behaviour conference (ISIC 2014), 2-5 September 2014, Leeds, UK, paper number isicsp5. Available from:

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Conference Name 2014 Information behaviour conference (ISIC 2014)
Conference Location Leeds, UK
Start Date Sep 2, 2014
End Date Sep 5, 2014
Acceptance Date Sep 2, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2014
Publication Date Dec 31, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 11, 2017
Journal Information research
Electronic ISSN 1368-1613
Publisher University of Borås, Information Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 4, Supplement
Article Number isicsp5
Keywords Scottish independence referendum; Voters online information; Information behaviour; Politics; Scotland
Public URL
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