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Does Internet use affect engagement? A meta‐analysis of research

Faculty Advisor




Internet, political participation, meta-analysis

Abstract (summary)

Scholars disagree about the impact of the Internet on civic and political engagement. Some scholars argue that Internet use will contribute to civic decline, whereas other scholars view the Internet as having a role to play in re-invigorating civic life. This article assesses the hypothesis that Internet use will contribute to declines in civic life. This article also assesses whether Internet use has any significant effect on engagement. This paper employs a meta-analysis approach to current research in this area. In total, 38 studies with 166 effects are examined. The meta-data provide strong evidence against the Internet having a negative effect on engagement. However, the meta-data do not establish that Internet use will have a substantial impact on engagement. The effects of Internet use on engagement seem to increase non-monotonically across time and the effects are larger when online news is used to measure Internet use, compared to other measures.

Publication Information

Boulianne, Shelley. 2009. "Does Internet Use Affect Engagement? A Meta-Analysis Of Research." Political Communication 26.2: 193-211. doi:10.1080/10584600902854363


Item Type

Article Post-Print




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