use of the Internet for communication was the topic of two focus
groups conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
on the Elon campus July 12-13. Additional focus groups and interviews
with teenagers will be conducted in Minneapolis and Washington D.C.
A total of
24 teenagers and pre-teens, many of them the children of Elon faculty
or staff members, participated in the groups. The research was supervised
by Pew Internet Director Lee Rainie and coordinated by Pew research
specialist Amanda Lenhart. Kelli Burns, an assistant professor in
the School of Communications, served as the local coordinator for
the project, recruiting teenagers and handling logistics. The
focus groups were moderated by Lenhart and Burns. Elon senior Lindsay
Porter also assisted with the groups.
from the focus groups' discussions will be used to design a nationwide
survey, which will be conducted later this year.
directly to teens in a focus group is a great method for understanding
why and how they use the Internet for communication," Burns
said. "Instant messaging is certainly a dominant tool in their
lives and has changed the way they build and maintain relationships
with their friends. We also learned that Web blogs, or live journals,
also provide an important outlet for self-expression."
Based in Washington,
D.C., the Pew Internet and American Life Project is a non-profit
research organization funded by the Tides Center. Its mission to
to study the social effects of the Internet. Support for the Pew
Internet and American Life Project is provided by The Pew Charitable