New Zealand-based students' perceptions and use of the Internet as a communication tool and source of information
Theunissen, P; Theunissen, CA
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In 2007 a pilot study in the form of a quantitative survey among New Zealand-based students was undertaken to determine their use and perceptions of the Internet as a communication tool and source of information and knowledge. While the topic is not necessarily "new", ongoing research of this kind is deemed relevant given the rapid changes in the transference of information and knowledge, and the role communication plays in this. A few of the initial key findings are presented in this paper. The results provide insight into students' current perceptions and use of the Internet, compared to a small number of select other, more traditional information sources. Although several trends appear to be emerging from this research such as an age bias towards the use of the Internet, general use seems to be highly personal and varied, and appear to underscore research in other fields that point towards personality being a determining factor rather than age. An interesting finding was that perceptions of reliability and citing sources for academic work were frequently shaped by tutors and tutors' perceptions of source reliability, signifying the need for educational leadership from tutors to provide guidelines regarding the reliability of emerging sources such as podcasts, video podcasts (vidcasts), blogs and wikipages. Overall, this research raises several new and interesting questions, pointing the way for further in-depth research that could add to the body of knowledge of Communication.