Development of a Survey Based Tool to Measure Digital Literacy in Arabic Speaking Internet Users.


Many countries have embarked on ambitious programs to make the resources of modern information technology available to their citizenry to eliminate the digital divide both within their countries and to catch up with others. However, for this strategy to succeed, it is not sufficient simply to make Internet connectivity available. US research demonstrates that Internet access alone does not necessarily eliminate the digital divide; rather, users must have a reasonably high level of digital literacy to find and make good use of Web resources (Hargittai, 2008). To understand what kinds of deficits Internet users may have and to design programs to eliminate them, it is necessary to develop a tool to measure digital literacy. Such tools exist for English-language Web users, and have allowed for the creation of interventions designed to overcome digital divides (Hargittai, 2009). For Arabic Web users, however, no such tool is available. Accordingly the main goal of this study is to create a scale that will allow for an assessment of digital literacy among Arabic-language Web user. This in turn will allow policy makers to design necessary interventions. We sampled Arabic speaking users of the Internet and observed their searching strategies on assigned tasks and had them complete a survey that measures their knowledge of the Internet. We are correlating their responses to the knowledge-based items with their ability to successfully complete the Web searching tasks. We report our preliminary findings about what to our knowledge will be the first, reliable tool.

Author Information
Susan Dun, Northwestern University in Qatar
Hazar Eskandar, Northwestern University in Qatar

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2014
Stream: Social Media & Communication Technology

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon