Alternative Internet Survey Plan

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Deliverable D5.2 describes the design of an online survey to examine the concerns about Internet usage expressed by standard Internet users. In addition, the survey records attitudes of standard Internet users as to the possibility of using community networks. Such information is considered significant for community networks themselves as well as for policy-makers and regulators. Online surveys present advantages and disadvantages; the deliverable outlines them using relevant literature on survey design and research methods. One of the disadvantages is the fact that not all members of the population have Internet access. As a result, online surveys are limited to those who have Internet access and relevant skills. This restriction is not a problem for our purposes, though. Indeed, we are interested only in Internet users and, as described in our sampling method, specifically those users who are expected to be regular and competent. The implication is that the survey we have designed cannot be generalised across all Internet users; generalisability, however, is not our purpose. Our target groups will include Information Technologies (IT) professionals, academics, and students/young people. The main pool of respondents will be the UK but we expect to use respondents from some of the countries of the other netCommons partners. To locate these respondents of interest we will use a number of relevant mailing lists. In designing the online questionnaire, we have also drawn on various other studies and surveys addressing relevant issues and have used good practices that we have encountered there. The design is based on the inclusion of different categories of questions, separated in five different Sections labeled from A to E. After a short explanation of the aims of the questionnaire and the provision of the relevant consent form (in A), Section B includes a set of questions about the Internet usage and the digital skills of the respondent, drawing on other similar surveys. Subsequently, section C, which can be seen as the core section of the questionnaire, addresses a number of concerns that the respondent might have as an Internet user. Those concerns cover a number of areas, such as: a) privacy and data control, b) digital labour and advertising/consumer culture, c) monopolies of information provision, d) Internet governance and electronic democracy. To identify these concerns, we have built on the work in deliverable D2.1, which discussed some of these issues from a sustainability perspective. We have also included questions to measure the degree to which the respondent would consider alternative ways of Internet usage. Section D, which follows, explicitly mentions the possibility of considering community networks as an alternative and also seeks to measure the views of the users as to the potential of such networks. Section E includes demographics of the respondent, as well as certain attitudes that they might have towards life and society. In conducting the survey we intend to use the platform limesurvey; the reasons for this choice are that limesurvey is built on open source code, whilst it also presents convenient functionality, including the possibility of anonymisation of the user. We also intend to conduct a pilot study with a small number of respondents and expect to yield some preliminary results which could lead to minor modifications and improvements of the original questionnaire presented in this deliverable.