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Twenty Years, Thirty-five Countries: Digital Media Effects on Participation

Date & Time:
17:15 - 18:15,
Thursday 9 March, 2017


Popular and academic discourses characterize the effects of digital media as revolutionary, but the true effects are blurred by a multiplicity of studies with conflicting results. This meta-analysis project examines almost 300 studies conducted on the relationship between digital media use and participation in civic and political life across the globe. Unlike other meta-analysis in this field (Boulianne, 2009, 2015; Skoric et al., 2016 a,b), the focus of this analysis is at the study-level. The focus on study-level analysis, combined with a large sample of studies, allows for an examination of how the effects of digital media change across time and how the effects differ across the globe. As digital media use increases, are the effects growing? Do the effects increase gradually or is there a period marking a dramatic or revolutionary change in effects? Finally, to what extent can we discuss the global effects of digital media? Can the pattern of effects be explained by political system, the degree of press freedom, or geographic region? This research seeks to bring structure to the multitude of studies in this field of research and provide clarity in this area of research. Clarifying findings will help devise culturally-appropriate strategies to optimize the use of digital media in civic and political life. This research can inform civic organizations, governments and political campaigns’ investments in digital media.

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  • Name: Shelley Boulianne
  • Affiliation: MacEwan University
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