This study assessed the construct and criterion validity of the short version of the Internet Skills Scale and examined whether its four dimensions - Operational, Information Navigation, Social, and Creative skills - are influenced by a higher-order dimension of general internet skills as one second-order factor. In 2018, a face-to-face survey comprising of the 20-item Internet Skills Scale and 22 other items related to digital inclusion was conducted in a sample of 814 internet users in Slovenia. The results of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, as well as other multivariate methods, showed that the Internet Skills Scale is characterized by high to adequate convergent and divergent validity. Acceptable criterion validity was observed for Operational and Information Navigation skills. In terms of measurement invariance, the data supported configural and metric invariance, whereas the scalar invariance was not fully confirmed, suggesting that older adults' lower scores on the Creative skills items were not related to lower levels of internet skills in the same way as they were among younger individuals. Last, the results provided original evidence of the Internet Skills Scale as a second-order construct, meaning that a single summative Internet Skills Scale score could be created as an adequate measure of an individual's internet skills.
Research activities related to social informatics (SI) are expanding, even as community fragmentation, topical dispersion, and methodological diversity continue to increase. Specifically, the different understandings of SI in regional communities have strong impacts, and each has a different history, methodological grounding, and often a different thematic focus. The aim of this article is to connect three selected perspectives on SI - intellectual (regional schools of thought), methodological, and thematic - and introduce a comparative framework for understanding SI that includes all known approaches. Thus, the article draws from a thematic and methodological grounding of research across schools of thought, along with definitions that rely on the extension and intension of the notion of SI. The article is built on a paralogy of views and pluralism typical of postmodern science. Because SI is forced to continually reform its research focus, due to the rapid development of information and communication technology, social changes and ideologies that surround computerization and informatization, the presented perspective maintains a high degree of flexibility, without the need to constantly redefine the boundaries, as is typical in modern science. This approach may support further developments in promoting and understanding SI worldwide.
An important contribution of digital inequalities research has been the discussion of nuances in ways that people (dis)engage with information and communication technologies (ICTs). One such practice is proxy Internet use (PIU): indirect Internet access by asking others to do things online for them or on their behalf. Whereas there is a good amount of research on those who are on the receiving end of PIU, users-by-proxy, little is known about "proxy users" who provide PIU. Analyses of nationally representative survey data from Slovenia (N=1047) collected in 2018 show that 51% of Internet users reported to have acted as proxy users in the past 12 months. Multivariate analyses unveil that those Internet users who report a wider array of personal, economic, social Internet uses as well as those with higher levels of operational Internet skills are more likely to act as proxy users.
When comparing social science phenomena through a time perspective, absolute and relative difference (RD) are the two typical presentation formats used to communicate interpretations to the audience, while time distance (TD) is the least frequently used of such formats. This article argues that the chosen presentation format is extremely important because the various formats suggest different substantive interpretations. To elaborate upon this issue, researchers from the National Statistical Office, National Health Institute, and general academia were invited to participate in an experiment with alternative presentation formats that describe changes in certain social science phenomena over time. The results revealed a prevailing tendency of respondents to rely on interpretations related to absolute differences, which was additionally reinforced with graphical presentation formats. Therefore, whenever RD or TD is more proper for substantive interpretations, the corresponding presentation format must be designed with special attention.
Do web surveys still yield lower response rates compared with other survey modes? To answer this question, we replicated and extended a meta-analysis done in 2008, which found that, based on 45 experimental comparisons, web surveys had an 11 percentage points lower response rate compared with other survey modes. Fundamental changes in internet accessibility and use since the publication of the original meta-analysis would suggest that people's propensity to participate in web surveys has changed considerably in the meantime. However, in our replication and extension study, which comprised 114 experimental comparisons between web and other survey modes, we found almost no change: web surveys still yielded lower response rates than other modes (a difference of 12 percentage points in response rates). Furthermore, we found that prenotifications, the sample recruitment strategy, the survey's solicitation mode, the type of target population, the number of contact attempts, and the country in which the survey was conducted moderated the magnitude of the response rate differences. These findings have substantial implications for web survey methodology and operations.