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