Americans Go Online For Research

Broadband A Factor

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Over half of Americans (58%) turn to the Internet when they want information about health, educational, financial, legal and career issues according to a new Pew Internet and American Life Project study.


Experts like doctors, lawyers or financial advisors came in second at 53 percent, while friends and family ranked third at 45 percent. "The ascendance of the Internet has a demand-side dimension and a supply-side dimension," said Lee Rainie, director of the non-profit Pew Internet and American Life Project.

"On the demand side, we clearly see that the spread of broadband has made the Internet an easy place for people to do research when they face problems." Rainie said that the growth of content makes the Internet a more valuable place to explore.

"Search engines make that content much easier to find," he added. "That creates a kind of virtuous cycle where more people come online and they find what they want, so that draws more people online and that creates incentives for placing more content online. And on and on and on."

The survey revealed that more than half of its partipants would favor using the Internet to interact with government. That includes school or work research using government material (66%), tax questions (57%), getting a driver’s license (53%) and other programs offered by agencies (55%).

In the U.S. the Internets popularity has increased do to the continuing growth of broadband. The survey found that 64 percent of Americans have broadband access at home or at work, or both. Thirteen percent had dial-up access.

Broadband users go online for research more often than dial-up users, with 72 percent turning to the Web, compared to 28 percent of those with dial-up.

Only a small portion  (26%) of those who have used the Internet to do research were concerned about their privacy being compromised.


Americans Go Online For Research
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