Understanding politics more thoroughly: How highly engaged young citizens use the Internet for civic knowledge integration


  • Younei Soe Indiana University




When people first learn of news, the information often remains in their minds as a passing fact rather than something fully understood. They attempt to better understand such information when particular topics interest them. This study explores how young people who self-identify as highly interested in politics and public affairs use diverse online resources to more thoroughly understand those topics in order to form their own thoughts and views, a process referred to as civic knowledge integration. Analyzing focus group interviews and essay answers provides a nuanced, in-depth understanding of such processes. These youths practice monitorial scanning, opinion sampling, verification (cross-checking), comparison of differing viewpoints, and collaborative layering of ideas. This study expands on the existing knowledge about political learning by considering the process in which learners’ efforts to understand is the most important aspect.

Author Biography

Younei Soe, Indiana University

Dr. Younei Soe is Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Information and Library Science and the Department of Informtics at Indiana University. Her research focuses on understanding how individuals use media and communication technologies to make sense of the political landscape and the broader information environment. She conducts interdisciplinary research in communication and information studies, as well as in social informatics.

Dr. Soe’s recent research projects examine how young citizens understand and learn about public affairs and broad politics using new media technologies, particularly in the U.S. and South Korea. These studies primarily explore the role information technology plays in creating informed citizens, with added focus on the psychology and culture of digital media users. Focused in these areas, she teaches Indiana University graduate courses on Human-Computer Interaction, Informatics of Social Media, and Information Analytics.




How to Cite

Soe, Y. (2018). Understanding politics more thoroughly: How highly engaged young citizens use the Internet for civic knowledge integration. First Monday, 23(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i6.7923