A black box that has to be opened: What are the Millennials’ interests, attitude and expectations in regard to news online? Last week, the second sprint of this project started which is all about gathering our own data that will give us answers to all the questions we have regarding online news readers. We expect that these answers will help us to further pursue our project. Over the course of the past week we have therefore been working on an online survey, which we just published today!
Since our project is mainly focussed on the so called target group “Millennials” (18 to 34 year old), our survey is mainly constructed for them. Although our previous literary research indicated, that Millennials are a rather divers and heterogeneous target group that should not be approached as one group, we nevertheless stick to this categorization for the moment. We included questions that will help us better understand how the age groups within the Millennials differ from each other and what their preferences are. The survey focusses on questions regarding reading of online news as well as design preferences and general questions about social media use.
Since our team is rather international (Ilayda is from Turkey, Alina from Germany and Belu from Spain) we decided to use this to our benefit and therefore offer the survey in different language versions. This lowers the obstacle for possible respondents to fill in the survey since they do not have to ‘think’ in a foreign language and we are able to compare the language based results. To add an ‘incentive’ to our survey, we communicate the survey as something of a ‘quiz’ that allows respondents to find out which news reader they are. Based on their answers, we categorize the respondents in to 1 out of 6 different types of news readers. This categorization is based on a research conducted by the American Press Institute in 2015.
We constructed the survey using the service from Google forms because other popular services such as SurveyMonkey have restricted in their free version (next to other limitations) the number of possible responses (a maximum of 100), which ruled out these services. This left us with Google forms which offers several options and can be used freely. We are aware however, that Google benefits indirectly through the data it can collect through our use of their services and that there are concerns regarding privacy.
But there are nice things to using Google services: there is a lot of documentation on how to use the different services and you can connect different services with each other, as for example Google forms to Google spreadsheets and Google scripts. We then also used Google script to create the respondent feedback. If you want to know more about how we constructed the script and what it exactly does, have a look at this blogpost.
We distribute the surveys mainly using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp. We will leave it open approximately until the end of March, but consider this as a dynamic process since we will regularly check the number of responses and adjust the “opening” time accordingly.