Data collection has begun for the 2011 wave of the Oxford Internet Surveys, with ICM Research hired to collect a random sample of about 2,000 British respondents. We expect to be in the field for four to six weeks.

The questionnaire is long, about 40-45 minutes for most Internet users, but shorter for non-users and ex-users. This is about the same length as the 2009 survey. We removed questions that were no longer relevant, like the number of narrow-band users (there were only 34 in 2009). We have added items on social media use, a standard political efficacy scale, and items on occupation and use of the Internet at work.

For the occupation codes we are using the Standard Occupation Codes 2010 (SOC2010), at the 2-digit level: this will give us a fairly detailed occupation variable for the first time in OxIS. We intend to use this variable directly and as part of a socio-economic status (SES) scale.

Social media use has blossomed very quickly in the past two years, and we added nine items to measure it. The social media questions ask how often people use social media like FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, and LinkedIn. We also ask about specific uses such as how often respondents update their status, post photos, or check or change privacy settings.

An issue we hope to address is the extent to which respondents received news and information from social networking sites, rather than by going to news sites. We also want to know the extent to which respondents click on links in social networking sites as a substitute for a google search or clicking on a bookmark in their browser.

I’ll update this blog when we receive data.

Note: This post was originally published on the OII's Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) blog on . It might have been updated since then in its original location. The post gives the views of the author(s), and not necessarily the position of the Oxford Internet Institute.